Sprint Introduces HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon Edition With Spotify

Sprint will soon exclusively sell the HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon edition, a phone with Spotify and highly sophisticated audio capabilities.

NEW YORK—Sprint and HTC's One (M8) flagship smartphone each just got a little better.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, at a press event here just hours after hosting Sprint's first-quarter 2014 earnings call, literally lifted the veil off a new smartphone for the network, an already improved version of the just-released HTC One (M8).

Flanking Hesse on a small stage were his collaborators on the phone, HTC CEO Peter Chou, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and Harman Kardon CEO Dinesh Paliwal.

The HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon edition, which Sprint exclusively will sell, features Harman's Clari-Fi, technology that restores much of the fidelity that's lost when audio files are compressed.

As much as 90 percent of the music gets compressed during streaming, and as a result, said Harman's Paliwal, "we're losing what artists took massive efforts to produce."

He added that he tells his kids, "Your generation is missing out on what artists really intended." With the Harman-edition M8, he added, "we were able to correct that."

Sprint has also packaged this in a feature it calls "Lossless HD Audio," explaining that the phone has the ability to deliver six times the digital information of a compact disc and 60 times the information of an MP3 or streaming music source when playing high-res digital downloads.

The settings menu of the new M8 includes an On-Off switch for Harman Clari-Fi (the device ships with the switch defaulted to On), as well as a Lossless HD Audio switch, which becomes enabled when a user is wearing earbuds.

"We're putting the vocals, the percussion ... where they were on the stage, and it comes to you as a live experience," said Hesse.

The Harman-edition M8 also comes bundled with new earbuds with "extended bass response" and a retail value of $149. Harman would also be happy if users also chose to pair the phone with its padded, leather SoHo headphones, which were on hand at the event, or one of its home speakers.

When purchased alongside the new M8, Harman is offering its Onyx Studio speaker, normally $399.99, for $99.99.

HTC's Chou said he's been using the new (included) earbuds every day. "I can tell you, it is incredible," he assured the audience. "Pure and rich."

"Of course, we knew that a phone with world-class songs would have to have a classic look as well," Chou added. "So, we gave it this unique, black metal finish with champagne highlights. With one look, you will know this phone is premium and powerful."

The newest M8 is also the latest Sprint device capable of accessing Spark, a 4G technology that Sprint says is faster than competitors' 4G networks. Alongside its early morning earnings news, Sprint announced the launch of six new Spark markets, bringing its total to 24. By year's end, it expects the technology to reach 100 million people.