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Rumor says HTC developing streaming music service

by Phil Hornshaw

One of the earliest adopters of Google’s Android platform, HTC has been struggling lately as it fights to compete amongst an onslaught of competitors, but according to new rumors, that’s not holding HTC back from rolling out new products, including a potential music streaming service.

The report comes from GigaOM, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the Taiwanese company’s internal plans. Here’s the explanation from GigaOM’s Om Malik of what HTC is working on:

“My sources say that HTC, which last year acquired a substantial stake in Beats Audio, a company started by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, is said to be working with Iovine, a music industry iconoclast to develop a streaming service that will be offered as a default music client on HTC phones and tablets.”

Malik writes that HTC doesn’t have pricing plans for the service worked out just yet, but that the possibility of a music streaming service has been something on the HTC to-do list for some time, the anonymous sources say. Meanwhile, an authorized spokesperson for HTC said the company wouldn’t comment on the rumors, although Iovine told the Los Angeles Times last year that one of the company’s first goals was to bring a music service to HTC devices. The report also suggests that Iovine, who is Interscope Geffen A&M chairman, has the contacts and the means to put together the streaming service with the help of the rest of the recording industry, and to stand against powerful competitors such as Spotify.

Also among upcoming products, the report says, is a wireless boom box that will likely use a Bluetooth connection to play music streamed from HTC mobile devices. Beat Audio already offers a similar product and has said it wants to pursue other similar offerings – with HTC as a partner, that could mean some interesting devices connecting through Android to other mobile devices and services.

HTC’s streaming music service could be announced as early as next month’s Mobile World Congress, the GigaOM report says, which is an event at which HTC said during a recent conference call with analysts it would be attempting to make a big splash. With the new service, plus a fresh crop of 4G LTE devices, HTC seems to be hoping to differentiate itself from competitors such as Samsung and Motorola in the growing Android field.