Last year HTC shelled out around $300 million for a majority stake in Beats Audio. This meant future HTC smartphones and tablets would have better, top-notch speakers, packing big sound in a small space. This move will likely put HTC in a better position in the mobile music race as more and more consumers turn to smartphones and tablets as their primary music listening device.
But now there's talk that HTC is also planning to launch a music streaming service. Sources close to the project told GigaOm that HTC is working with Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, a "music industry iconoclast" and Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman, to develop a streaming music service that will be offered as a default music client on HTC phones and tablets. Iovine hinted to the streaming service last year in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"Getting Beats audio into HTC phones is one of the first things we’re going to do…We are going to be in business with HTC and they’re going to help us and were going to help them in every way they can," he said. "And you’ll see Beats audio in just about every phone or tablet they want it to be in, but they know what we’ve built and respect the brand and will help us continue to innovate and push Beats further."
According to GigaOm, if anyone can get HTC's streaming music service off the ground, it will be Iovine. He's reportedly viewed as one of the most powerful men in the music industry, and has the muscle to convince record labels into signing up. He's also reportedly not a Spotify fan, which is a big plus in an industry that's fearful of creating an iTunes-like monopoly in Spotify.
In addition to the streaming music service, HTC is reportedly working on a wireless boombox that will stream music from HTC phones via a Bluetooth connection. This device is expected to be one of many new products HTC is said to be revealing later this month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. HTC's "big push" during the event will also include LTE devices and a new tablet.
As for the music service, HTC is expected to reveal its plans during Mobile World Congress as well. As of this writing, the company is still working on pricing plans and details. So far it's unknown if HTC plans to offer the service beyond its phones and tablets, but given Iovine's reported dislike for Spotify, it's entirely possible.