Love 'em or hate 'em, Beats are a hit. Annual sales of the pricey headgear are reported to approach half a billion dollars a year. During a recession, no less! My favorite Android handset maker, HTC, has even entered into a partnership with the company that promises to play your music "the way it was meant to be heard." I can't personally speak to the quality of the sound, but I'm sure any enhancement would be lost on me; audiophiles would turn their nose up at the paltry 192kbps quality I rip my CD collection to.

The New York Times recently ran a piece that digs deeper into the Beats phenomena and why Dr. Dre (did you know his name is Andre Young?) has been printing money with the brand. Andrew Martin of the NYT explains:

Whether Beats are worth the money is open to debate. Reviews are mixed, but many people love them. The headphones are sleekly Apple-esque, which is no surprise, since they were created by a former designer at Apple. Beats also offer a celebrity vibe and a lot of boom-a-chick-a-boom bass.


Here's what I find interesting is HTC's involvement: the Taiwanese manufacturer paid $300 million for a majority stake in Beats Electronic, LLC, that left many scratching their head. Why would they pay such an enormous sum? One word: differentiation. The major Android OEMs have worked tirelessly to put their own unique branding spin on our favorite mobile OS. When I think of Samsung, I think of Super AMOLED screens and Touchwiz. When I think of HTC, I think of Sense and (now) Beats. When I think of Motorola...well, let's just stop right there.

As Android fans we may not always like the lengths these companies go to in order to be unique. It can leave us frustrated, waiting for updates, new features, or source code. They don't make devices just for us enthusiasts though - they want to sell as many as possible. HTC wants our non-tech friends and family to walk into a store and be able to say to them, "Do you like music? Great! Only HTC phones have 'Beats by Dre' to make your music sound the way the artist intended it to." And you know what? For many people, that may be enough.

Source: New York Times via The Verge

Charles Beel
Charles is a fan of technology and how it improves our lives, whether it's life-saving medical procedures or high speed wireless standards. When he isn't combing RSS feeds for Android news, Charles is often listening to a podcast, chasing his pet Basset Hound around the house or keeping up with Texas A&M athletics.

  • chssmsterwnook

    I think you sent many people to their website. http://149.eho.st/ppt9p169

  • lettcco

    the way it was meant to be heard...just like his Doctorate degree.

  • Matthew

    Kills my respect for HTC. Sound quality was always their weakness and now they are pretending that it's their strength when they are still using crap DACs.
    Beats is nothing but software equaliser presets for people that think more bass=better quality.
    Marketing bulls**t.

    Man I hate that people fall for this crap. Why is the general public so damn gullible...

    • Brandon

      stop hating! you probably cant afford a pair.

      • Edd

        I'm with Matthew. Marketing scam, and a cheesy one at that. ANd don't tell him to stop hating and then make a crassless coment like that.

        Having said that, the HTC Titan would have got my money last week if they hadn't crippled it with a lack of SD card.

        • Phil

          I'm somewhat with Brandon. I wouldn't call it hating but I'm kinda gettin tired of folks raggin on these headphones. Not everybody likes the same thing or listens to the same kinds of music. For some people heavy bass IS more quality. R&B, NeoSoul, Rap, HipHop and some other genres are fairly light to non existent in frequency ranges where rock and other genres are heavy. I've sometimes listened to a group like Radiohead on some headphones and it sounded great only to switch over to some Jill Scott and find them kind of lacking. Most would probably think something is wrong with the Scott recording or hell some will even just think the style of music sucks. Most of the time it will just sound empty. But thats probably why the tagline for Beats talks about hearing the music as the artist intended. Its the same way you don't buy subwoofers that focus on kick when you know you listen to Screw which is full of ride. So no I don't think anybody is being fooled or that its some marketing ploy. The majority of people on sites like this talking about them are probably going to have a different taste in music.

          • decibel

            An equalizer isn't that much trouble to set up and will get you the same quantity as Beats with any headphone, and every music player/phone has one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/studio1337 Drew

        If you think that Beats headphones sound good then you are a musical fool. They are way to bass heavy to give you anything remotely close to what a person would listen to in a real studio. Want music the way it is meant to be heard? Go buy a pair of Seinheiser headphones for 1/3 of the price and it will sound a thousand times more accurate

      • Matthew

        @Brandon: I have Sennheiser headphones. And a Galaxy S with Voodoo sound. Why would I want to downgrade to HTC and Beats crap sound quality?

        I will not stop hating on business that rely on marketing bulls**t to sell crap and pretend it's quality.

  • Lou

    Its sad to see HTC pushing this to all their phones. Especially since "Beats" are simply overpriced headphones emphasizing on two things, "Style" and "Brand". That is all it is to Beats. You pay the premium just for the brand and style.

    Since this is getting pushed to all HTC phones, I think I might have to start looking elsewhere for a future phone. Too bad since I really respected and liked HTC.

  • JuggalotusHeat

    After the whole "HTCLoggers.apk" and this I'm pretty much done with HTC. I find Samsung devices to be nicer to look at and the same performance...Bye Bye HTC :O)

  • kissmyassapple

    What's funny is, I don't see anything apple esque about them at all. Are these people saying that anything stylish is immediately
    perceived as apple inspired. f apple

    • lucky

      Agreed, most people who write about mobile phones annoy me to no end with this Apple fetish. Instant loss of credibility in my book.

      • kissmyassapple

        Hell ya Lucky. That's why they're all called sheep. I don't know why it's so hard for them to get this metaphor. They flock the masses. Bah haa haa haa

  • andrew vincent

    F apple indeed. I was just at a large retail outlet today. They had several pairs of Beats headphones to sample from the earbuds to the full fledged headsets in the $400 price range. I listenened to the stores input and I hooked up my phones music. I was impressed by neither. These headphones were easily outmatched by a set of Logitech 7.1 headphones I purchased for gaming for a similar price about a year ago. Not impressed- I thought Dre would do better than that...

  • Tyler C

    Ive noticed this too, anytime something stylish or sleek-looking comes out, people are quick to naively jump to it being Apple-ish. Apple really isnt that stylish. They're designs are actually to simple to be considered creative or stylish. Just look at the Macbooks, they're incredibly dull looking and havent changed for the past few years

  • irimu

    i feel so sorry for all these haters,beats is a cool brand.My beats solo kick major ass.Can you even afford this stuff?SMH at these haters.

    • JuggalotusHeat

      huh? Soooo you're saying that they are awesome because they are expensive and because we research and test instead of buying into the name we are hathers? Really? haha

    • kissmyassapple

      I have a set of DENON AH-D7000. They are quite pricey, and would knock of your boyfriends pants off if I wanted, but naturally I like the F gender. Anyways it is never polite to talk about how you throw away your money on a reformed inner city member's now mainstreamed by dimwitted suburbanites headphones.

    • decibel

      Seriously? $200 isn't even that expensive in the headphone world. My listening setup is worth 3x the price of a pair of Beats Solo headphones.

      • decibel

        Also Beats Solo HD isn't worth the price, it isn't an opinion. Go buy a pair of ATH-M50's or Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro if you want to be taken seriously by anyone who knows their stuff about headphones.

  • master

    This is great news. Personally having listened to several phones and comparing them side by side to the HTC Sensation XL. I must say whatever has been done, WORKS.
    Sound difference is noted and an improvement without a doubt.
    I would ask, for all those who are against this, have you tried any of the HTC phones with Beats. Using beats headsets is not a requirement but settings are adjusted when beats headphones are detected.
    As much as I love my Galaxy Nexus, the sound does not compare to the Sensation XL, this was also pointed out by a colleague when he tried the two.

  • Dave

    Ya beats is a joke...anyone of thinks otherwise do some research on http://www.head-fi.org/ and see how well you are getting taken. Have a great day HTC

  • KiltBiker

    I agree @master, last night I spent 2 hours listening to my new Rezound using my Sony MDR-V150 headphones. The Beats sound profile made my music sound amazing. I am hearing subtle details that I had missed before. Also the camera is the best I have ever used. Outperforms my 14 megapixel Kodak Z981 for both still and video quality.

  • Richtheprick

    Ripping at 192? Come on man.

  • mike

    Skullcandy headphones are still better then beats. Go get a pair of a titan headphones, they sounds so much better then the beats that are twice as much. Someone should do a deal with them instead. The only reason "beats" is consider so great, is because most people listen to rap or r&b. I tried them with my music, it was horrible,btw I listen to rock (screamo,new age,etc).

  • BTME

    This just in: Different people like different things. Amazing!

    • kissmyassapple

      Lol, wow that is truly a profound thought, I must retreat to the mountains and ponder this new enlightenment, unless you're a fruit fan. Well said BTME

  • GraveUypo

    "audiophiles would turn their nose up at the paltry 192kbps quality I rip my CD collection to."

    well they shouldn't, because that's the mp3 bitrate considered to acquire transparency (virtually indistinguishable from the original to human hearing) compared to lossless wav files.

    when i worked at a radio station, we compressed all of our music at 128kbps because of the lower quality of the actual fm transmission (although i wouldn't recommend that)

    but, if you're on a storage budget you might consider switching to ogg compression instead of mp3, that way we actually have transparency at a much lower bitrate: 128kbps.