Sprint, HTC Partner With Harman, Spotify to Push for a Win

1 - Sprint, HTC Partner With Harman, Spotify to Push for a Win
2 - HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon Edition
3 - What Sprint Spark Can Do
4 - Sprint's New Partners
5 - HTC Keeps Swinging
6 - Spotify CEO Ek Takes to the Stage
7 - Harman Kardon Shows Off Its Chops
8 - Headphones, Earbuds and Speakers
9 - Earbuds
10 - Offering Users Sound Options
11 - Harman Clari-Fi Technology
12 - Testing the Difference
13 - BMW 5 Series
14 - A New Look for HTC
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Sprint, HTC Partner With Harman, Spotify to Push for a Win

by Michelle Maisto

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HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon Edition

Hours after announcing a quarterly loss of $151 million, Sprint introduced an improved version of the HTC One (M8)—a smartphone that's already been called the best Android phone available. The phone can take advantage of Sprint's new 4G technology, Spark, and its HD Voice capabilities, while taking its already celebrated audio capabilities to a new level.

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What Sprint Spark Can Do

Sprint announced April 29 that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is now in 41 more cities and Sprint Spark, which can deliver speeds up to 60M bps, is now in six cities and is expected to cover 100 million people by year's end. Spark is designed for bandwidth-intensive applications. The new Harman Edition HTC One will be the 16th Spark-enabled phone on the Sprint network. (The iPhone isn't one of them.)

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Sprint's New Partners

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse (left) was joined on stage by Harman Kardon CEO Dinesh Paliwal, who said he tells his kids that their generation is missing out on hearing music the way that artists created it to sound. When music is compressed and shared digitally, via services like Spotify, it usually loses much of its fidelity. "We were able to correct that," said Paliwal.

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HTC Keeps Swinging

Next on the stage was HTC CEO Peter Chou (right), who has the unenviable job of getting consumers to consider phones not made by Samsung. "The HTC One M8 hardware with Harman Kardon has software that puts us even farther ahead in the industry," he said. "I've also been using the headset every day, and I can tell you, it is incredible."

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Spotify CEO Ek Takes to the Stage

The final surprise of the morning was Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (left), who announced that Sprint customers were about to get the "best deal" Spotify has ever made. In addition to access to 30 million songs—including the full Led Zeppelin canon, which it's alone in offering—Sprint customers can enjoy a free trial; those on Framily plans will them be able to sign up at deeply discounted rates for 18 months.

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Harman Kardon Shows Off Its Chops

The presentation portion of the event—which included videos of Pharrell and Quincy Jones promoting the technology, and a new ad featuring the rodent star of Sprint's Framily commercials—concluded with a quick performance by the violinist Miri Ben-Ari and, by extension, a show of Harman Kardon's speaker and digital audio prowess.

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Headphones, Earbuds and Speakers

On the left are the new Harman Kardon earbuds, developed for the HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon edition. On the right are Harman's SoHo earphones, which retail for $200. Harman is also offering its Onyx Studio speaker, normally $400, for $100, when purchased with the new HTC One (M8).

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A closer look at the new Harman earbuds designed for Harman Edition HTC One (M8).

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Offering Users Sound Options

The new M8 includes a setting option not present in the original HTC One.

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Harman Clari-Fi Technology

Harman Edition HTC One ships with Clari-Fi technology turned on, though users have the option to turn it off—really just to make clear how much better things sound when it's on.

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Testing the Difference

During the event, demonstrations were offered, during which the press could listen to songs moving in and out of Clari-Fi. When the solid line moved into the squiggles on the bottom, the song was in a Clari-Fi zone. Up top, the red line represents the base, and the blue line represents what Clari-Fi is accomplishing around it. Unless it's a battery-killer (which Harman says it's not), there's no reason to ever turn off Clari-Fi.

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BMW 5 Series

The HTC One now has its audio prowess in common with another impressive machine: the BMW 5 Series. Sealed inside the car's leather-scented interior, journalists could listen, on even larger Harman speakers, to the difference between Clari-Fi and non-Clari-Fi audio.

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A New Look for HTC

The premise of a matte-black HTC One sounded potentially rather sexy, especially when pitched alongside a BMW (cars and matte black go together like Pharrell and mountain ranger hats). However, some phone buyers may find they prefer the stand-out silver of the classic HTC One (M8).

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