On the heels of Sprint's prepaid-service announcement, HTC and Cricket Wireless have leaked the launch of a new mid-tier smartphone for the prepaid carrier. Cricket Wireless in mid-January will roll out the HTC One SV, a new model in HTC's popular One series.

The HTC One SV has a 4.3-inch super LCD-2 touchscreen with scratch- and fingerprint-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. The device taps into 4G LTE or 3G networks, offers a 5-megapixel camera and studio-quality sound. Running HTC Sense 5 on Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, the phone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU. HTC is promising high-quality video streaming, gaming and multitasking.

Since the subsidies are not present, the phone is not cheap. Prepaid customers will shell out $349.99 for the device, but it is still much less than an iPhone on a prepaid plan. And, for a limited time, the HTC One SV is available on Cricket's 4G LTE Android rate plans that offer double the monthly data allowance offered in Cricket's 3G rate plans. The $50 4G LTE Android Double Data Rate Plan allows up to 2 GB of full-speed data; the $60 plan allows 5 GB of full-speed data and the $70 plan offers up to 10 GB of full-speed data.

Tapping NFC Technology

HTC said One SV users could avoid running out of space for documents, movies, pictures and apps. The smartphone has expandable storage through a microSD card slot with support for up to 32 GB cards and integration with Dropbox. The device also offers NFC technology and Android Beam, making it possible for users to share content with a tap of the phone to another NFC-enabled device.

The HTC One SV offers a camera with advanced functions, including one-press continuous shooting and HTC VideoPic combined with advanced low-light performance for shots in challenging lighting conditions. The HTC One SV's 5 megapixel, f/2.0 back-side illuminated main camera with panorama and 1080p HD video recording is complemented with a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera.

The front camera also features back-side illumination, and an f/2.2 lens. Whether at sunset or in candlelight, the HTC One SV's front camera promises a good self-portrait.

HTC's Beats Audio promises authentic sound across all music, game play and video playback. The new HTC Sync Manager also works to makes it easy to manage and sync your music collection from your computer to your smartphone to ensure your entire library is as mobile as you are.

Prepaid Selections Expanding

Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, told us the HTC One SV on Cricket Wireless is one more example of higher-end smartphones expanding into prepaid markets.

"This device isn't HTC's flagship smartphone -- not by a long shot -- but it's not the entry-level phone that you get for $99 or $129 that Cricket has been pushing to date," Greengart said.

"As smartphones take off and move into different demographics, consumers who want prepaid plans, consumers who don't quality for post-paid plans, consumers who are looking for a bargain on rates, can consider mid-tier phones. Prepaid vendors are broadening their portfolios to include not just entry-level devices that they can sell at the absolute lowest price, but also some mid-tier and higher-end models as well."