What do you do when you have 56 percent of the premium headphone market in the U.S.? What do you do when people everywhere are wearing the red wired headphones with the B insignia? You make products, that’s what you do.
Today Beats by Dre is releasing two new products for the holiday season — its Executive noise-canceling headphones and a new portable Bluetooth speaker called the Pill. In 2008, when Beats released its first product, Monster Cable was granted a five year contract to make Beats-branded headphones. These two new products are the first releases for Beats without the Monster partnership.
“This marks our first release as an independent Beats. As we define who we are as a company, the fundamental business of great sound experience and great design stays,” Luke Wood, president and COO of Beats, told ABC News in an interview.
And that’s our first impression of the new products, which will be introduced by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, the founders of the company, in New York City today. The Pill is a Bluetooth speaker no bigger than a bottle of shampoo, and it is shaped just like a pill. Yet with four drivers it blasts out some pretty powerful sound. It also has an NFC chip inside so that you can link an NFC-enabled phone, like the Galaxy S 3, with the speaker by just tapping it on the back. (It didn’t work with a Galaxy Nexus, however.) At $199, it costs the same as Jawbone’s Jambox, but the Pill’s sound didn’t seem as full.
If you’re looking for a more private listening experience, there are the new Executive noise-canceling headphones. The $299 headphones are well-made and comfortable to wear; the earpieces are covered in brushed aluminum, and lined inside with hand-stitched leather. Like other Beats headphones, the Executive requires AA batteries, and there is an on/off switch. On a cross country flight the headphones made the background noise of the plane and a crying baby disappear and provided very full sound when we listened to music or watched an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
Both the Pill and the Executive headphones are available today.