Today Sprint announced a special version of the HTC One M8 called the Harman/Kardon Edition which is basically a normal HTC One M8 except with a few extra special software editions and audio enhancements that showcase services from Sprint, Spotify, and Harman/Kardon. It’s also got a special black color on the back with champagne accents and it will include special high-quality Harman/Kardon earbud headphones. We got to try out some of the new features in New York City today and there are quite a few new additions to mention.
Besides the black color options, this version of the HTC One M8 includes a Sprint Music overlay on the home screen that lets you “peel” right into a whole bunch of Sprint music services. The device has a new “Clari-Fi” music restoration technology built in which is supposed to intelligently fill in for compressed music file formats like MP3s so that you can get better audio quality out of the music you already have. Of course, you can also play lossless FLAC audio formats and you’ll have even better HD audio to listen to. “LiveStage” is another new technology included with the Harman/Karmon edition that aims to make for a more realistic surround sound effect with your music. It’s supposed to make certain instruments sound like they’re coming from different parts of the stage. I listened to the demo which showed a sequence that toggled the feature on and off, but unfortunately I couldn’t notice any difference.
HD voice for phone calls is also included. The booth to test this was occupied the whole time, so we didn’t get to try it, but it only works on the Sprint network. It won’t work with T-Mobile’s HD Voice feature, for example. So having to find some one who has Sprint and has an HD Voice enabled Sprint phone in order to take advantage of that is kind of a non-starter.
Sprint was also boasting its new “Spark” network which is now available in New York City and gives you a lot more bandwidth for streaming high quality videos over the internet. The HTC One M8 also supports WiFi calling on Sprint. Also known as UMA (Universal Mobile Access), this will let you connect to any WiFi network in order to use your phone for regular phone calls and text messages should you be in a location with no reception. All mobile phones should have this feature!
Sprint Framily customers will also get a special discount on the Spotify music service. Everyone gets a 6 month free trial and after that if you have 1-5 Framily members, it’s $7.99/month or if you have 6-10 Framily members, it’s $4.99/month. Non-Framily plans get a 3 month free trial and after that it’s $9.99/month. Personally I’m not terribly impressed by that discount since you can get a Nokia Lumia that comes with a much-cooler MixRadio service for free forever.
Check out the video below for a quick hands-on with Sprint’s new HTC One M8 Harman/Kardon edition. It will be available on May 9th for $680 which is about $30 more than the standard HTC One M8.