HP taps Bang & Olufsen for audio tech now that Apple has Beats

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Devindra Hardawar
March 24, 2015 10:57 AM
In this article: Bang Olufsen, Beats, hp
HP taps Bang & Olufsen for audio tech now that Apple has Beats

It was only a matter of time until HP found a new audio partner, following Apple's acquisition of Beats Electronics. Now the PC company is teaming up with Bang & Olufsen, purveyors of high-end audio gear you probably can't afford, to spruce up the sound quality of its devices. B&O will "custom tune" upcoming HP devices, and it'll also deliver clearer tunes by isolating audio circuitry and reducing the amount of metal used in the headphone jack. There aren't any further details about what B&O will bring, but we wouldn't be surprised if it also packed in high-quality amps like Beats. In fact, the new partnership pretty much seems like a cover of the Beats deal -- except HP's laptops, desktops, tablets and accessories will now be branded with Bang & Olufsen or B&O Play (its brand for mobile-focused products). Expect the first round of products with B&O integration to land this spring.

On the software side, HP says it'll provide a new audio control panel for customizing sound quality (again, just like what Beats did). On top of the usual presets, you'll also be able to manually tune the way everything sounds -- hopefully, with the help of a software equalizer.

While Bang & Olufsen is likely a worthy replacement for Beats' technology, its brand doesn't carry the same weight in popular culture. Beats, after all, managed to convince regular consumers that they needed expensive headphones. It's hard to tell if the Beats logo on HP's devices helped sales, but whatever leverage it may have had is now lost.

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