Sprint is hoping it can attract enough audiophiles to its new Framily plans to help boost subscriber additions.
Specifically, Sprint Tuesday announced the launch of a Harman Kardon branded version of the HTC One (M8), as well as 6 months worth of free Spotify for all Framily plan subscribers.
Sprint said the new handset is the culmination of a partnership with HTC and Harmon Kardon. The new device includes Harman’s Clari-Fi application, which the company says "restores and 'rebuilds' music fidelity lost during audio compression." Sprint also promises lossless HD technology that repproduces 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 HTC One (M8) Harman Kardon edition features HTC’s proprietary front-facing speakers, dedicated custom amps for the speakers and headphones, and comes bundled with a custom set of Harman Kardon AE-S headphones. The device also boasts up to 160GB of total data storage with a microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB of storage cards on top of the built-in 32GB.
“For years, mobile music has been watered down and compressed into small, low-resolution digital files,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. “The technological advances in smartphone processors and memories make high-quality audio possible today, so Sprint, Harman and HTC have partnered to bring this breakthrough to our customers.”
The new HD audio tech sounds a lot like Neil Young's recent Pono venture, which promises high definition recordings and playback of large, uncompressed audio files.
Sprint announced a new entertainment platfrom called "Sprint Sound Sessions.", which includes a number of different services, including Spotify, Sprint Music Plus, Music Live and NextRadio.
Sprint Framily customers with 1 to 5 people will now get 6 months of Spotify free and then pay $7.99 per month. After 18 months, customers will pay the full $9.99/ per month. Discounts for the service will increase depending on how many people are bundled into any given Framily plan. Those customers not on a Framily will still get 3 months of Spotify free and then play $9.99 per month after that.
Amid the announcements, Sprint also said today that it had launched six new Spark markets, including Newark, N.J., Oakland, Calif., Orlando, Fla., Tacoma, Wash., Waukegan, Ill., and West Palm Beach, Fla. Sprint has launched 24 Sprint Spark markets and is expected to reach 100 million people by the end of the year.