HTC has quickly established themeselves as a clear leader when it comes to smartphone audio, but this new HTC One M8 has more than just Boomsound.
HTC has become the well seated leader when it comes to premium smartphone design and build quality. Its past three flagship phones, the HTC One X, the HTC One, and the HTC One M8 have all received (nearly) universal praise from much of the internet, with all three also receiving multiple awards, most recently the HTC One was awarded the Smartphone of the Year award for 2013 at Mobile World Congress (nearly a full year after its initial launch).
Unfortunately, the praise and awards haven’t all translated into sales. Apple is by far and away the worlds most recognizable brand and Samsung is up there, not to mention its $1 billion marketing budget, it’s hard for HTC to catch a break, despite the fact that it manufactures–what many people would argue is–a superior product to its competitors.
Some of HTCs earliest success came with some exclusive devices for Sprint, most notably, the HTC EVO 4G, which was the first 4G (WIMAX) phone, and–at the time–the best all around Android phone. As HTC struck out to better establish its brand, it started to shy away from carrier exclusive devices and now launches nearly identical devices on all carriers, much like Samsung and Apple; however, that doesn’t mean HTC is above partnering with Sprint once again.
Sprint and HTC recently announced an exclusive version of the HTC One M8 that takes advantage of HTC’s Boomsound feature and includes some additional audio improvements and branding from HTCs partners for the project, Harman/Kardon. Harman Kardon is a premier audio equipment manufacturer that provided its Clari-Fi software, which restores most of the audio details typically lost during the compression that occurs with most streaming media.
To compliment the Clari-Fi audio from Harman/Kardon, this exclusive version of the HTC One M8 comes with a free six month trial to Spotify, followed by discounted monthly rates for the streaming service, depending on the number of lines on the Sprint account. The phone will also come as an exclusive black/champagne colored variant and will include a set of Harman/Kardon AE-S Premium in-ear headphones (currently discounted from $179.95 to $72.39 on Amazon).
HTCs partnership with Harman/Kardon comes at an intersting time, considering HTC just recently sold its majority stake in Beats Audio and the past two generations of the HTC One lineup included Beats branding. While Beats tended to modify sounds by boosting bass and other attributes, Harman/Kardon takes a very different stance on audio manipulation, stating on its website that Harman/Kardon, applies “thorough and precise scientific methods to accurately reproduce crystal clear sound – as close to the original recording as possible.”
While Beats Audio may have more brand recognition than Harman/Kardon, many audiophiles will appreciate this new partnership more than the previous one. Unfortunately, there will likely not be many of these units flying off the shelf, considering the phone is an exclusive to Sprint, and unavailable on several larger carriers in the US or other countries.