If you’re a big fan of Beats headphones, turn down your bass and listen for a minute. Though HTC has been making a lot of its investment and partnership with the Beats by Dr. Dre brand, it looks like they’re going to be scaling back a bit, at least as far as pack-ins are concerned. That means no free Beats headphones with HTC smartphones, at least for the immediate future. HTC told Cnet that its research suggested that the headphones included with phone like the HTC Sensation XL and Verizon’s Rezound weren’t a significant factor in their buying decisions, making it a fiscally responsible decision to do without them.
HTC invested $300 million into Beats Audio, acquiring 51% of its market value and effectively controlling the smaller company. While Beats still operates independently (and licenses its technology to non-competing manufacturers like Hewlett Packard) HTC has been making the most of the association, incorporating the Beats brand into new smartphones including all three of the HTC One family. Beats amplifiers, equalizers and settings are included in these phones, and the software portions of Beats are being added into older phones like the HTC Vivid as part of their Ice Cream Sandwich/Sense 3.6 update.
None of the One series phones are getting Beats headphones out of the box, though some retailers (including T-Mobile) are using the branding association to try and sell the pricey headphones separately. Beats is doing well enough on its own – the hefty profit margin and celebrity status symbol seems to be making the conglomeration quite enough independent cash. HTC wouldn’t rule out pack-in audio equipment for good, but it’s safe to say that you won’t be seeing any for the next several months at least. Rumors indicate the HTC is planning a subscription music service with MOG Music, but nothing’s come of it yet.