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HTC Upgrades Audio Capabilities Of Flagship Phone

New York — HTC’s third-generation HTC One flagship phone, unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, goes on sale through select carriers’ and retailers’ online stores tomorrow (March 27) and will be available in stores April 10, HTC announced.

At post time, T-Mobile announced a price of $27.08/month for 24 months, or a total of $649.92. T-Mobile’s version will support Wi-Fi calling out of the box.

AT&T announced a $199 purchase price with two-year contract, a $708.99 up-front unsubsidized price without contract, and three Next installment-payment/trade-up plan options: $23.64/month for 30 months with AT&T Next 24, $29.55/month for 24 months with AT&T Next 18, or $35.45/month for 20 months with AT&T Next 12. With Next, users can upgrade their phone after 24, 18 and 12 months, respectively.

Pricing information from Sprint and Verizon Wireless was unavailable.

The all-metal unibody HTC One M9, touted for its jewelry-grade two-tone silver and gold finish, features high-end audio capabilities such as 192/24 FLAC playback, 192/24 DACs, and new Dolby Audio technology. Dolby Audio uses HRTF and crosstalk cancellation to create surround sound effects from any audio source through headphones and through two embedded front speakers. Playback of 192/24 FLAC was available only in a special Harman/Kardon edition of the previous HTC One on the Sprint network.

In another audio change, the company enabled 192/24 streaming via HTC Connect, which allows for a three-finger swipe to send music wirelessly to home audio devices equipped with the HTC Connect. The company also added multiroom-audio capabilities into the new HTC One, enabling HTC Connect to send music to wireless multiroom-audio systems based on the Qualcomm AllPlay and Blackfire Research platforms. Monster and House of Marley use the former, and Harman/Kardon uses the latter.

The company said a Kantar survey found that HTC One owners listen to music more than average smartphone users.

Also new are 4K video capture (at 30 fps), faster CAT 6 LTE technology to replace CAT 4, and 2x carrier aggregation to further boost speeds.

Other features include DLNA, Miracast, 32GB storage and a 128GB MicroSD Card slot. The company is testing the potential for the phone to accept new 200GB SanDisk memory cards.

Two of four U.S. operators will include a Print Studio feature that lets users take pictures and have cards made from the pictures via orders placed by the phone to Pinhole Press, the company said.

The phone also launches the new Sense 7 UI, which brings the proprietary Blinkfeed content-aggregation service to the lockscreen and adds time-of-day and contextual content. Top news stories and the day’s agenda items would appear in the morning, and restaurant suggestions from Yelp would appear based on location and time of day. Most frequently used apps by location — such as at home, work or outdoors — appear in a homescreen widget for quick access.

The UI also offers more customization options, such as choosing a photo for the homescreen and having app icons and fonts automatically match the photo.

The smartphone with jewelry-grade finish features a 5-inch FullHD 1080p display, Android 5.0 Lollipop OS, LTE, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit octacore processor running at 4x2GHz and 4×1.5GHz, 3GB RAM, 2,840 mAh battery, and rear-facing 20-megapixel camera with scratch-resistant sapphire lens and 4K video capture. The UltraPixel front-facing camera offers 1080p recording. UltraPixel technology is said to capture 300 percent more light than standard cameras to improve low-light performance.