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Beats by Dre blog officially announces partnership with HTC

That's it, folks. Cat's officially out of the bag. The Beats by Dre blog has officially announced its partnership with HTC, ahead of HTC's official "major news announcement" Thursday but after CEO Peter Chou spilled the beans. Here's the skinny:Today marks an incredible day for sound and Beats by...

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Beats Music

Beats Music review: Yet another music service, and one that still needs some work

Beats is trying something new, for sure, but it's got room to improve Beats is a name that is synonymous with hip-hop music and iconic (and expensive) audio gear (and, at one time, HTC smartphones), but not exactly with streaming music. The company showed its intention of getting into the space...
Beats

Beats Music launches in the U.S, AT&T customers get the best deal

$9.99 a month for regular subscriptions, or $14.99 family plans if you're on AT&T We've been hearing of Beats Music for some time now, and today the new music streaming service finally launches to the world. Well, launches to the world so long as you're in the U.S. With the weight of Jimmy...
Android Central

Rdio and Beats Music looking at adding Chromecast support

Meanwhile Spotify doesn't seem too interested We're going to hear about a ton of apps with added Chromecast support in the coming weeks and months, but a couple of big names have already shown their interest. On respective Twitter accounts, both Rdio and the newly launched Beats Music both...
In Dre we trust

Beats Music kills new sign-ups while they sort some bugs

Current users can carry on as normal, also get an extended trial period You probably know Beats Music launched yesterday. With an Android app, 7-day trial and special deals for AT&T customers and all. It was a pretty big deal for Dre and his posse. Looking at user feedback around the...
Sonos

Fill your whole house with Beats Music on Sonos

A quick heads up for any Sonos owners that might have taken an interest in the brand new Beats Music service; you'll be able to fill your whole house with as much of it as you can handle. Sonos already offers support for most of the leading music services out there, so we didn't for one minute...

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Meanwhile Spotify doesn't seem too interested

We're going to hear about a ton of apps with added Chromecast support in the coming weeks and months, but a couple of big names have already shown their interest. On respective Twitter accounts, both Rdio and the newly launched Beats Music both expressed that they're working towards adding support for Google's $35 HDMI dongle. 

Meanwhile, another big music service, Spotify, doesn't seem at all interested with Chromecast. This despite admitting the request was "uncommonly popular" with its customers. We're not sure what might be the thought process there, but we'll have to ride it out and see if they change their minds. If you're on Rdio or Beats Music though, it looks like good news in the not so distant future. 

via The Verge

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Current users can carry on as normal, also get an extended trial period

You probably know Beats Music launched yesterday. With an Android app, 7-day trial and special deals for AT&T customers and all. It was a pretty big deal for Dre and his posse. Looking at user feedback around the Internet, it looks like it was a pretty big deal for customers, too.

Maybe that is part of the reason why Beats had to stop taking new customers so they could fix a few things. In a post on their blog, and in a message they sent to subscribers, they say "Due to the extremely high volume of interest in our service some users are experiencing issues." They go on to say that most people aren't affected, but they still want to slow things down a bit while they get out the wrenches and make some adjustments. Hopefully, these fixes will help the Android app, as we're seeing some wonk with fetching lists and streams, as well as some general UI bugs. 

Users who claimed their name already still will have it, and Beats will let you know how to proceed. For the rest of us, they say to install the app and register, and they'll get things sorted ASAP. They are even throwing in another 7-days of free trial for folks who registered this week to make up for the hassle.

Making the next Spotify or Pandora is hard — even if you're Dr. Dre or Trent Reznor. We'll wait and see how things progress.

Source: Beats Music

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A quick heads up for any Sonos owners that might have taken an interest in the brand new Beats Music service; you'll be able to fill your whole house with as much of it as you can handle. Sonos already offers support for most of the leading music services out there, so we didn't for one minute expect Beats Music to be left out. Beats Music should be showing up in your Sonos Controller app – link up top if you need it – if not now, then very soon alongside the other supported services. 

That's about all there is to it. If you're in the U.S,  a Sonos owner and also curious about the new Beats Music service, sign up, turn it up to 11 and have at it. 

Source: Sonos

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$9.99 a month for regular subscriptions, or $14.99 family plans if you're on AT&T

We've been hearing of Beats Music for some time now, and today the new music streaming service finally launches to the world. Well, launches to the world so long as you're in the U.S. With the weight of Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor behind it, Beats Music is well poised to make waves in the space, and simultaneously launches on Android and iOS, with Windows Phone not far behind. 

We'll be taking a proper look at Beats Music over the next couple of days, but if you're interested in trying it out for yourselves there are a few key pointers. Subscription costs $9.99 a month, but there's at least a 7-day free trial first so you can check things out before handing over your cash. AT&T customers can get the best deal, with a family plan of up to 5 people on 10 devices costing just $14.99 a month. So if you have music hungry kids, this could work out to be a great deal for you. 

The Android app is now available, and you can grab it at the Play Store link up top.

Source: Beats Music

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U.S. launch on Android, iOS and the web 'within the next few months'

It seems Beats Electronics' rumored music streaming service could become a reality sooner rather than later. Beats president and COO Luke Wood has told TheNextWeb that the Beats Music streaming service will be arriving for U.S. users "within the next few months" on the web, as well as in the form of mobile apps for Android and iOS. The news follows Beats' acquisition of the MOG music streaming service last July.

The Beats Music experience will be centered around playlists, and Wood confirmed earlier reports that specially curated playlists would be offered through the service: "We’re going to focus really heavily on playlists, because that’s how we consume music and that’s how most people consume music."

"We’re talking about real depth of personalization and knowing who I am, who you are, what we’re listening to, what we like, what we’ve listened to before and then offering up music that is highly relevant to our taste profile," Wood added.

Beats Music will go up against streaming incumbents Spotify and Rdio, as well as Google Play Music and iTunes Radio, which are strong contenders on their respective platforms. It's unclear how the streaming service might figure in Beats' partnership with HTC. Beats recently bought back the Taiwanese manufacturer's remaining 25 percent stake in the company, effectively freeing it from HTC control. However future HTC handsets with Beats Audio are understood to be in the works, and the manufacturer has described beats as an "important partner."

Also see: Beats buys back HTC's remaining 25 percent stake in company

Source: TNW; via: iMore

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Beats Electronics free of HTC control after $265 million buyback deal 

It was rumored over the summer and today it's official — Beats Electronics, the company behind Beats Audio and Beats By Dre, has bought back the remaining 25 percent stake in it held by HTC in a $265 million deal. The Taiwanese smartphone maker originally acquired a 50.1-percent stake in Beats at the height of its success in 2011, before founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre bought back half of that a year later.

Over the course of the partnership, the companies' fortunes have diverged, with HTC falling on hard times as Beats has grown and expanded its business beyond headphones. HTC described Beats as an "important partner" in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, without going into further details about the consequences of the buyback. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Source: Dow Jones Business News; via: Engadget

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Two years after deal first inke​d, Beats wants to buy back HTC's remaining 25 percent stake, according to The Wall Street Journal

Headphone maker Beats By Dr. Dre could be looking to end its partnership with HTC by buying back the company's remaining 25 percent stake, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper says it's learned from "people familiar with the matter" that Beats wants to bring in new investors to provide debt financing and take a minority ownership stake, allowing Beats to buy back HTC's share in the company. The news comes after Beats was forced to abandon a $700m refinancing deal earlier in the year that would've also allowed it to buy out HTC's share.

At the peak of its success back in mid-2011, HTC paid more than $300 million for a 50.1 percent stake in Beats. However this was reduced to a 25% share a year later, when Beats bought back half of the Taiwanese manufacturer's share. HTC has also stopped including Beats earphones with its products, instead focusing on Beats-branded software audio processing on handsets like the HTC One. The WSJ reports that differences over strategy soured the  partnership between HTC and Beats. HTC's fortunes have also declined dramatically since the deal was first inked two years ago, on account of fierce competition in the smartphone space.

For its part, Beats is reportedly looking to expand aggressively into the areas of car and home audio systems, as well as introducing a music streaming service, building upon its success in the premium headphone space. Should Beats buy back HTC's remaining stake, it's unclear how this might affect co-branded HTC devices. But it's possible it could open the door to other manufacturers releasing Beats-endorsed handsets in the long-term future.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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This is pretty cut and dry, folks. HTC tells Android Central that a rumor going 'round today about it cutting Beats Audio out of its smartphones simply isn't true. Here's the full line from HTC:

"HTC remains strongly committed to Beats Audio and including their innovation in our devices. Any rumor of HTC no longer integrating Beats Audio into our devices is categorically false."

You may now feel free to plug in your headphones.

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HTC has sold half of its 50.1 percent stake in Beats Audio, less than a year after it acquired its share of the company for $309 million. The move leaves HTC with a 25.57 stake in Beats, with the remaining 24.53 percent being bought back by the company's founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, for $150 million. This comes after a year in which Beats failed to emerge as a major differentiator for HTC's smartphones, and after the company reversed its decision to include premium Beats-branded earphones with its high-end HTC One series phones.

In a statement, HTC said it will continue to "work closely" with Beats, and despite the sale, it's expected HTC will continue to include Beats software enhancements in future smartphones.

HTC remains in a somewhat uneasy position, following strong competition from Samsung and Apple in the mobile space. The company's second quarter numbers showed a 57.8 percent year-on-year fall in net profits, following lower-than-expected sales of the HTC One series. Despite this, HTC remains a major force in the smartphone world, as recently released Nielsen numbers show the manufacturer with a 14 percent market share in the U.S., behind Samsung's 17 percent.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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HTC's investment in Beats Audio has been one of the more debated moves in the past year or so. To some, it's a marketing maneuver. To others, it truly has made phone audio better. For our part, we certainly notice a difference, and that Beats is available to any application on a Sense 4 phone is a big plus.

Varsityhacker in our forums brings the following:

Beats Audio can best be summoned up as a EQ setting that you can enable when listening to music on the One X. Toggling back and forth listening to music you can tell the difference. Without Beats enabled sound was generic in sound and lower all most muffled. When Beats is enabled the sound became louder and clearer with a heavier emphasis on the low and high ends. Yes you can tell the difference between settings and earbuds on the One X. You won't be listening to music on the One X with beats off unless you like monotone sound. But, how does the IPad compare in sound quality against the One X and Beats?

Very well, the IPad has a more consistent sound across the board with nothing really out doing the other (low end vs. high end). You get the felling that the EQ is set to be equal across the board on the IPad. Where the One X would look different with the EQ cranked on the high and low ends. Personally I liked listening to music on both, but like the One X better overall. The One X felt like I was in a concert and the IPad like I was sitting on my porch with a Scotch in hand playing my tunes. 

His full conclusion? Hit this link to find out.

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This morning we're getting a first look at what the promotional blitz for the upcoming EVO 4G LTE will look like, courtesy of the fine folks over at Good and EVO. In addition to the packaging for Sprint's next flagship seen above, the website also got its hands on a few marketing images which tout the device's ImageSense-powered camera and built-in Beats Audio. Along with the leak comes some information about a release date, too: the next EVO will launch on May 18 with a $199.99 price tag, with preorders beginning on May 7, the website says. 

Sure, leaks like this aren't set in stone, but based on the quality of material, we're going to go ahead and hope that this source knows what they're talking about. We'll continue to keep our ears to the ground; as we all patiently wait, check out the EVO 4G LTE marketing materials below.

Source: Good and EVO; thanks Francisco!

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In a move that shouldn't surprise anyone, HTC won't be bundling Beats headphones with it's devices anymore.  Ever since HTC announced their partnership with Beats they've been talking up the benefits, namely better sound quality from your handset.  Regardless of whether or not you agree that the sound quality was actually better, the fact that you got some pretty decent earbuds with your phone was a major plus.  Everything you needed to have great sound was included in the box.  Apparently HTC realized that people don't buy phones based on what buds are included in the box.

Now that won't be the case, and it probably has more to do with Beats than with HTC.  It may or may not be common knowledge, but Monster was the manufacturer of Beats headphones.  We say was because the partnership has ended, which leaves Beats without a manufacturer.  So even if HTC wants to continue to include the buds, they can't, because Beats can't supply them anymore.

Source: CNET

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We might be focusing on a couple of other HTC phones this week, but if you don't mind settling for a device that's a few months old you could take home another high-end HTC for next to nothing, starting today. The Verizon HTC Rezound, which launched last year at an eye-watering $299 on-contract, has just had its price slashed to $49 with a two-year plan.

The Rezound is notable for its 720p display, Beats Audio support and dual-core processor. As you'd expect from a leading Verizon phone, there's 4G LTE connectivity included too. We reviewed  the Rezound last year, and found it to be a worth competitor to Samsung's Galaxy Nexus. And with an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich imminent, the Rezound offers good value at this price point.

Source: Verizon Wireless; via: Droid-Life

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If you've got a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket and would love to get some Beats Audio sound playing in your house instead of just in headphones, this may be what you were looking for. The Beatbox by Dre is a high quality portable speaker that allows you to stream music from your Android device via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, priced at $399 it does make it something that is not practical for everyone, but if you really love music and the quality that Beats offers, you will want to check this out. So, will you be grabbing one of these, or would you rather a more moderately priced alternative?

Buy: Beatbox by Dre

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With the One X due to launch internationally in the next month or so, HTC has revealed a limited edtion version of the handset in its home territory of Taiwan. Taiwanese site ePrice reports that the HTC One X Deluxe Limited Edition includes a set of Beats Solo wireless headphones, along with some fancy minimalist packaging.

Taiwanese retailers will start taking pre-orders for the limited edition One X starting next Tuesday, March 20. At this stage it's unknown whether HTC plans to launch this limited package elsewhere, but we saw a similar bundle with the Sensation XL in the UK last year, so our fingers are crossed.

In case you've just emerged from a month-long hibernation, the One X is HTC's flagship smartphone for 2012, with a quad-core CPU, a 720p screen and HTC's new ImageSense camera tech. We got hands-on with the device at MWC and last week's Three UK showcase event.

Source: ePrice; via: Unwired View

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The HTC Vivid should be seeing Ice Cream Sandwich shortly, and if you're the brave type there's a leak out in the wild you can flash today. When HTC and AT&T announced the HTC One X was coming to AT&T, there was a small part in the press release about the Vivid and it's ICS update, and that's been reinforced today in a press release for a new Beats Audio wireless speaker system exclusive for AT&T. The paragraph reads as follows:

Additionally, an enhanced audio experience will soon be available to HTC Vivid™ customers in the coming weeks.  Sound engineers at Beats Dr. Dre and software engineers at HTC have teamed up to bring an improved audio experience to the HTC Vivid through an upcoming software update that will provide Android 4.0, an updated HTC Sense experience and Beats By Dr. Dre audio profiles. 

While "coming weeks" is a pretty vague term, it may be closer that anyone expects. A Vivid user was presented with an OTA update to Ice Cream Sandwich, and had the foresight to capture the file and hand it over to the hacking community. It's been converted to a flashable form, but there's a great big warning attached as it requires a different hboot with no reliable way to get back. Between the few reports of bricked devices, most people say the update is decent, bringing the Vivid to Android 4.0.3 and Sense to 3.6.  

If you're the type who has to try things, be sure to read very carefully lest you have a shiny black HTC Vivid to add to the Android bone pile. If you're the more cautious type or haven't rooted your $600 phone (we don't blame you), hopefully you'll be seeing an update soon. In either case, follow along at the links below.

Source: XDA Developers; via Android Central forums

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Audio quality is always something that will be subjective. Opinions on what good sounds like will always differ from person to person. This definitely applies to Beats Audio, and the inclusion of Beats on new HTC devices. HTC have just opened up the API to the Beats software for third-party apps to take advantage, but XDA member RockoDev has gone further than that. He has managed to port the Beats software for use on non-HTC devices into a flashable zip file.

Beats is essentially a branded equalizer. The files have been pulled for flashing to other devices. Expectations shouldn't be set too high though, as again everyone has different tastes in sound quality. Flashed to my LG Optimus 2X, I actually do feel there was a general improvement. 

When comparing it's important not to fall into any placebo effect. Just because it's there doesn't make it better. The test setup was a song that I know very well, and a pair of good quality Bang and Olufsen earphones. In listening to the same song a few times before and after flashing Beats, there was a noticable change. Nothing groundbreaking, but the bass was improved and the overall sound did feel better.

You'll find more at the source links below if you fancy trying it out for yourselves. We know a lot of you don't like Beats, but there's a lot of people that do. Shout out in the comments with your thoughts if you do decide to try it. 

Source: XDA Developers

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One of HTC's major (if questionable) maneuvers of 2011 was the purchase of Beats Audio. With the reportedly $300 million deal came better earbuds for a few phones released late in the year, as well as some on-board audio enhancements.

But from a software standpoint, the Beats improvements were fairly sandboxed. HTC's apps could play with Beats, but not much else.

That chances with Sense 4.0.

The Beats software has been rearranged in the audio stack so that all applications on a Sense 4.0 smartphone can take take advantage of the feature. That means just about any application you download -- any third-party music player, any third-party video player, any game -- use the Beats Audio enhancements in an HTC device.

Will you notice an improvement in, say, Google Music? Or Pandora? Maybe. Or maybe not. But the point is that with the upcoming HTC devices that were just announced this evening, you'll have the opportunity to find out.

Headphones image via Shutterstock

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Gotta love a good RUU -- otherwise known as a ROM Update Utility -- because they're chock full of fun stuff. And the one that surfaced over the weekend for the HTC Endeavor has found itself available for download. We've been picking it apart and have packaged up a nice little Sense 4.0 preview.

And that' sbeen the big question since Google announced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich -- what will HTC (and the other manufacturers) do with their custom user interfaces. ICS easily is the sexiest "stock" UI Google's come up with (by far). How will HTC and Motorola and Samsung and everyone else customize it? We've gotten a glimpse of what HTC likely has in store for us in that leaked video of the HTC Ville, and now we're getting an even better look thanks to the RUU. Packaged within it are nearly two dozen screen shots that show a Sense that looks familiar, yet refined.

Looks like we've got a bunch of different lock screen options, with the ring and quick links that we've come to know and love so much, and the Sense dock has more of the traditional Android look and feel that we've come to know. How that all works together, we're not quire sure. It's almost some sort of hybrid, with HTC's widgets throughout. Or perhaps what we're seeing is just a massive serires of themes. 

(Update: Now that I think about it some more, maybe toss out that whole "hybrid" thing. What you see after the break may well just be example images of what you see in Sense 4.0.)

You get a good look at the Sense phone book, favorite contacts, photo gallery, lock screen reminders and stocks backgrounds -- in both portrait and landscape. And it also looks like Beats and NFC are a go, too, from what we've seen in the ROM.

We've got a plethora of screen shots after the break. Peep 'em.

We've got some wallpapers from the leaked RUU available in the Android Central forums, too!

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Last week we saw that HTC's planning to launch a white HTC Sensation in parts of Europe from the beginning of next month, and now it seems its big brother, the Sensation XE, will also be getting a fresh coat of paint.

UK retailer Clove Technology sends word that it'll be stocking a white version of the Sensation XE from Feb. 20, with SIM-free prices coming in at £408 (~$640). The Sensation XE, which first launched towards the end of 2011, is a refresh of the original Sensation. It's got a faster 1.5GHz dual-core CPU (up from 1.2 in the original), a larger battery and Beats Audio support, complete with bundled earphones. While the dimensions are the same, the XE comes with red accents and Beats branding, which we have to admit looks a lot better on the white version than it did on the original grey model.

With HTC expected to launch a range of new handsets just a week later, we're not sure whether too many people will be lining up to part with £400 for Sensation XE. But if you do, you'll be getting a pretty powerful dual-core phone, with an ICS update on the way in the months ahead.

Source: Clove Technology

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