HTC's Rezound smartphone will try to stand out in a crowded Android smartphone field via tight integration with Beats audio technology.
top-notch audio hardware enough to persuade you to buy a smartphone?
question HTC seemingly wants consumers to answer in the affirmative. The main
selling point of its just-announced HTC Rezound smartphone is the device's
tight hardware integration with Beats, audio technology developed by Interscope
Chairman Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre.
At a Nov. 3
unveiling event here, Iovine told the assembled media that Beats was explicitly
designed to counter the audio degradation that comes with pushing digital music
through a pair of "one-dollar headphones." He succeeded HTC CEO Peter Chou and
other executives, who likewise pushed the idea of crystal-clear audio as a
game-changer for smartphones.
Beats, though, the Rezound's specs align closely with those of other high-end
Android devices on the market. It boasts a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Android Gingerbread
(skinned with HTC Sense), a 4.3-inch screen offering 1280x720 resolution, and
an 8-megapixel rear camera (paired with a 2-megapixel front aperture) capable
of shooting 1080p video. In the hand, it feels relatively light but not cheap.
The black finish and detailing are handsome, but not necessarily in a way that
makes the Rezound stand out from Motorola's Droid Razr or some of the other
premium smartphones currently on the market.
and HTC indicated during the event that the Rezound is ready to receive "Ice
Cream Sandwich," the next major Android upgrade.
device focusing on audio offers potential advantages for all parties involved.
Verizon, which will carry the Rezound on its 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE)
network, now has a particularly data-hungry device in its stable-and those
types of devices demand big data plans, which in turn boost the carrier's
bottom line. HTC already offers high-end Android smartphones, but the street
cred associated with Beats audio could give it an added advantage in the
tooth-and-nail consumer market. And Beats itself now expands onto yet another
tech platform, following its deal to import the technology onto desktops and
laptops manufactured by Hewlett-Packard.
With so many
other options out there, however, it's a big question whether the prospect of
crystal-clear audio (and a ticked-out pair of Beats earbuds included in the
box) is a big enough selling point to draw in consumers who might otherwise opt
for the Droid Razr, the Apple iPhone 4S or other high-end devices arriving on
the market for the holiday season. That question will begin to be answered Nov.
14, when the device arrives on store shelves for $299.99 with a two-year
Follow Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter