This morning, Sprint and HTC announced the One (M8) Harman Kardon Edition, a special edition model of this year’s flagship that features a fresh paint job (mixture of black and gold), special audio enhancements, and includes a pair of Harman AE-S ear buds. This product announcement has been a “culmination of a months-long project” with the three players hoping to “redefine the way people listen to music on their smartphones.”
The device will be available May 2 for $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $28.34. If you do some basic math there, the phone will retail for somewhere around the $650 mark. With that in mind, the Harman Kardon AE-S ear buds retail for $149, so the whole package carries a solid value.
Here are the two major audio enhancements:
- A revolutionary application — HARMAN’s Clari-Fi — that restores and “rebuilds” music fidelity lost during audio compression. The first time in a mobile device, Clari-Fi yields richer, deeper and clearer sound quality for compressed digital music (like MP3 downloads or streaming services like Spotify®).
- Lossless HD Audio music reproduction via a 24bit/192kHz DAC that delivers roughly six times the information of compact disc music and 60 times the information of an MP3 or streaming music source when playing high-res digital (FLAC) downloads from sources like HDtracks.com.
The rest of the phone is the same as the other One (M8) models.
In related news, Sprint announced all sorts of new music initiatives through “Sprint Sound Sessions,” one of which includes 6 months of free Spotify service for Framily plan members. The rest of the music news includes Sprint Music Plus, the official music store from Sprint with a player, albums, ringtones, and ringback tones (those still exist?). Sprint is also still promoting NextRadio and a service called Music Live, which sounds like an all-in-one music experience with news, downloads, and connectivity with services like Spotify.
- Spotify – Sprint is giving customers access to Spotify’s catalogue of more than 20 million songs. Spotify allows users to play music on demand, create playlists, discover new music, share tracks with their friends, listen to songs offline, and listen to music without ads across multiple devices.
- Sprint Music Plus – Sprint’s official music store and player for music tracks, albums, ringtones and ringback tones.
- Music Live – an immersive and interactive experience that is continuously updated with the latest music news, current hits, new music and featured services. The “always-on” live experience enables customers to discover and engage with services that include Spotify, Music News Feed, Top Songs, NextRadio (FM Radio) – Music Downloads, Ringback Tones, Ringtones and ID-a-Song services.
- NextRadio – an application for listening to local FM broadcasts on customers’ smartphones.
On the Spotify front, Framily members will indeed receive 6 months of free service. After the 6 months as completed, they’ll see promotional pricing on monthly charges depending on how many lines are in their Framily. For 1-5 users, you are looking at $7.99 or $4.99 for 6-10 users. This pricing lasts for 18 months before jumping back up to $9.99.
Harman Kardon, anyone?