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HTC to stop bundling Beats headphones with handsets

HTC will stop throwing in Beats-branded headphones with its phones, despite a high-profile tie-up.

HTC is canning the cans. Despite its high-profile tie-in with Dr. Dre's headphones of choice, HTC is pulling the plug on bundling them with its handsets, CNET reports. The reason? If people want Beats earphones, they'll buy them separately, according to one HTC exec.

"An accessory like the headphone doesn't factor in when someone is buying a smart phone," Martin Fichter, an HTC product executive, told our sister site CNET in the US. "If they want a Beats headphone, they'll buy it directly."

It's a complete U-turn for the company which, since announcing the deal last summer, packaged almost every high-end handset with a pair. Mobiles shipped with Beats earphones include the recent One X and One S, the Sensation XE, Sensation XL and HTC Rhyme.

HTC ploughed $300m into the hip-hop audio brand last year, and HP has also released laptops branded with the Beats logo and featuring its audio processing tech. But now it seems like HTC is dancing to a different beat, although it will still feature the audio technology within its handsets.

Maybe HTC regrets driving a truck full of money up to Dr. Dre's house. Yesterday it announced its results for the first three months of the year, and things were… well, not all that rosy. Revenue dropped 35 per cent on the same period last year. In the last quarter of 2011, the company's profits fell 25 per cent as well, while Samsung saw a massive 73 per cent jump.

It's been a tough year for HTC. I always thought the Beats branding was a marketing gimmick, so maybe it's for the best that HTC drops it and focuses on making great phones. The One X looks awesome, and the more reasonable One S could well be my next handset. Let's hope this is another step in HTC's turnaround.

What do you think of the Beats by Dr. Dre branding on HTC phones? Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.