In a move that is going to surprise approximately no one who knows anything about selling smartphones, HTC has indicated to CNET that it no longer plans to bundle Beats headphones with its handsets.

The reasoning should be pretty obvious - people aren't going to buy a smartphone on the basis that it comes with a pair of decent headphones. Headphones are a separate market, and if you care about them at all, you're going to buy them separate of any other hardware. The fact that Monster is no longer Beats' manufacturing partner is probably linked to this "decision," as well (HTC owns a 51% stake in Beats, and Monster and Beats have now parted ways).

While HTC has integrated Beats Audio (read: software equalization, upgraded speakers and DSPs) into a number of its smartphones, it obviously doesn't make much sense to spend money including premium headphones with devices when they're not a point of competition in the marketplace. More likely, HTC will pursue a strategy of selling Beats headphones as accessories in carrier stores and other electronics retail locations, something Beats has been very successful with in the past.

Beats controls over half of the lucrative headphone market in the US by revenue, and the brand has shown no signs of slowing down in recent months. The stylish, bass-heavy, and overpriced cans have been gobbled up by teenagers and the hip-hop culture. They're so successful that Ludacris has launched a competing brand - SOUL - to try and take advantage of the burgeoning market for designer headphones.

HTC says its plan all along was to incorporate "Beats technology" (read: bass-heavy equalization and a logo) into its phones, rather than make Beats headphones synonymous with HTC handsets. More and more, this deal is sounding like HTC paid for the right to slap a logo on its hardware, rather than to provide consumers with a superior audio experience.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Matt

    Sounds just about right

    • Alex C
    • Alex Sandy

      Totally agree wit' ya

  • http://override182.net override182

    ive read somewhere that BEATS contract with Monster are about to end and production are about to stop. It explains why no more are supplied. If there is, prolly an old one or fake as no more are produced

  • Ross

    @override182 You read wrong; Monster and Beats had a 5-year contract that ends at the end of this yer and they aren't going to renew it. Beats will still be around, but they won't be tethered to Monster. It was solely a little crutch for Beats Technology to fall back on if they didn't take off. Beats and Monster got into a fight over who deserved credit and money and ended up deciding a full-on split was the best thing to do. http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/12/monster-and-beats-electronics-discontinue-partnership-/

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    Beats audio doesnt make that much of a difference.........it has all ready been ported to all GB devices on XDA :D

  • jeff donuts

    I'm shocked I tell u

  • deltaechoe

    Beats is overrated anyway

  • George

    Wouldn't this make the phones cheaper? As beats are pretty pricey on their own.

    • duplissi

      all beats products are seriously overpriced....

      if someone was looking to spend 150-300 dollars on a pair of headphones then they would be much better off looking at a pair of sennheisers, grados, beyerdynamics, audio technica, v-moda, behringer, high end sony's, etc...

      all the brands mentioned will be far superior than a pair of beats in the same price bracket...