Watch out, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent is ready to challenge Beats headphones with his own line of headphones. Curtis Jackson’s vast empire includes a headphone company, SMS Audio, which recently acquired KonoAudio for an undisclosed amount and is set to unveil a complete portfolio of products in the coming weeks.
Sounds sort of familiar, right? 50 Cent previously had a deal with Sleek Audio to produce and distribute a so-called wireless hybrid headphone system dubbed Sleek by 50. Sleek Audio even showed off the model at CES 2011, but that deal fell through last May. 50 Cent’s G-Unit Brands, Inc affiliate, SMS Audio, LLC, then picked up the baton and is now running towards the release with at least three headphones in tow.
The company has yet to revel much about the upcoming headphones besides stating that the line will consist of three product categories: wired, wireless, and earbuds. Reportedly at least one model will feature full on-board playback controls and some sort of shared listening experience described in a press release as allowing “up to four listeners to simultaneously experience the highest-caliber wireless sound from a single source.”
The purchase of KonoAudio gives SMS Audio established worldwide distribution and marketing channels along with the founder of KonoAudio, Brian Nohe, who will bring his 25 years of executive leadership experience to the role of president at SMS Audio. KonoAudio also provides SMS Audio with more experience in headphone manufacturing and marketing of high-end headphones.
I’m told that headphones will debut in the coming weeks, likely in the heat of the holiday spending spree. No word on pricing, but they’ll probably follow the price point proven possible by the Beats line although it remains to be heard if 50 Cent’s headphones will feature the same sound quality — not that sound quality is the most important feature for lifestyle headphones.