HP Dumps Beats for B&O

HP is dropping Beats audio for its tablets and PCs, following Beats' acquisition by Apple. HP will instead use Bang & Olufsen audio technologies.

With Apple's acquisition of Beats, the headphone and audio company's previous computer partner HP needed to find a new company to support its audio initiatives. On March 24, HP announced that it has formed a partnership with the European A/V company Bang & Olufsen (B&O).
Robert Archer · March 25, 2015

Recognizing the growing role of digital audio/video technologies in consumers’ daily lives, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based PC, tablet and accessories company Hewlett-Packard (HP) has entered into a strategic alliance with Bang & Olufsen (B&O).

HP had been teaming with Beats but parted ways after Beats was acquired by Apple. HP says its newly formed alliance with B&O is driven by the usage trends of today’s consumers.

“They [consumers] talk more about what they are doing on their computers than speed,” says Mike Nash, an HP personal computer and printing vice president. “Looking at Google, YouTube, etc., music is often on in the background.”

Nash says through its partnership with B&O, the companies will work on specific sound quality elements, including speakers and amplification. He adds B&O’s 90 years of audio engineering experience will aid HP’s efforts to address consumers’ concerns for accurate sound reproduction.

According to HP, digital entertainment is a priority for an increasing amount of people and that people expect good sound regardless of the type of media they are using.

“Audio plays an important role in the experience customers have on their PCs, tablets and accessories whether it’s watching a movie, listening to music or Skyping with friends and family,” notes Ron Coughlin, senior vice president, personal systems, HP.

Both companies state they will specifically engineer HP’s notebooks, desktop, tablets and accessories for the best possible sound, and these products will carry a Bang & Olfsen or B&O PLAY branding. Some of the specific plans the companies say the products will implement include the isolation of audio circuits to prevent signal leakage, and specialized headphone jacks that limit the amount of metal used to limit ground noise issues.

The products will also incorporate software tools to easily enable users to tailor the sound of their HP products to their exact requirements.

“An audio engineer can fine tune [their sound], but most of our customers aren’t engineers,” Nash points out.

HP adds its audio upgrades will be available on many of its product lines, and the products will provide consumers a competitive choice of solutions that offer a variety of features and value.

Interestingly, despite the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) and The Recording Academy’s (GRAMMYs) emphasis on high-resolution audio, the computer manufacturer could not definitely state how the products will, if at all, handle high-resolution audio.

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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at

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  Article Topics

News · Bang & Olufsen · Beats · CTA · HP · All Topics
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