HTC gets its 5th acquisition for 2011 with a 51% stake in US-based high-end headphone maker Beats Electronics.
Beats is best known publicly for its partnership with rapper & music producer Dr. Dre-- and best known inside the CE for Monster's role as maker & exclusive distributor.
HTC says it will release products carrying Beats technology by this year's end. But why is this mobile phone giant acquiring a headphone company?
As smartphones become more and more the multimedia devices of choice, HTC is looking for ways to distinguish itself. Embedding the Monster-driven audio technology will help HTC product-wise but displaying the Dr. Dre (and Lady Gaga) driven celebrity brand will help even more.
HTC believes this "cool" brand image will boost its appeal in markets beyond its home Taiwan-- and turn HTC into more of a lifestyle brand within the youth market.
HTC is not to be underestimated...any company that can enter the mobile phone business where giants compete and still rise to the 7th top seller (very close behind RIM and ahead of Sony Ericsson) deserves respect.
Photo: Lady Gaga launches "HeartBeats" at IFA 2009 with Noel Lee (Head Monster) and Dr. Dre.