HTC has confirmed the release date of its upcoming flagship Android phone and successor to the HTC 10. Read the latest rumours on the HTC U specifications, price and UK launch date.
Following its no-show at MWC 2017 our ears have been glued to the rumour mill for news of when HTC might launch the successor to its HTC 10 – not the HTC 11 but the HTC U (the save the date makes that fairly clear, ending months of speculation). And now we finally have a date: 16 May. See also: Best new phones coming in 2017
This isn’t going to be just another flagship Android phone launch, as HTC is tipped to be turning its back on physical buttons completely for the handset – users will have to get used to a new way of interacting with the device.
The launch date news comes hot on the heals of the first proper look at the HTC U – check out this sexy new photo .
Thanks to a Save the Date sent to us by HTC, we now know the HTC U will be unveiled on 16 May 2017. The announcement will take place at 2pm in Tapei, 2am in New York and 7am in London.
We don’t yet know whether there will be a live stream of the HTC U launch, but we will be bringing you full details immediately after the announcement.
The HTC U is late to the party, though, with Huawei , LG , Samsung and Sony all having already unveiled their flagship phones for 2017.
@evleaks earlier claimed the so-called ‘HTC Ocean’ had not been forgotten in light of the 12 January HTC U Ultra (Ocean Note) launch, posting a video of a young couple purportedly using it.
A second video posted by @evleaks also reveals an HTC Vive-branded phone. Could this be the HTC U?
He says the phone should be announced in mid- to late-April with an early May global on sale date.
If it follows HTC’s usual game, the U will have a high price in line with (or slightly below) other flagship phones. Our prediction is that it will cost between £599 and £649.
HTC will more than likely use Qualcomm’s best available mobile chip for its next flagship, the 10nm Snapdragon 835 with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0. It will most likely be paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, though we have heard the HTC U could get 256GB of storage.
For the camera, rumours are suggesting HTC will stick with a 12Mp main camera at the back, and put an 8Mp selfie camera at the front (up from 5Mp).
One of the main issues with the HTC 10’s camera was its lack of consistency. Some photos were great, some weren’t.
Also, it relied too heavily on the presumption that people wanted to use the Pro mode and all its controls (and RAW capture), but the vast majority of users just want to press the shutter and get top-quality pictures and video.
The screen is expected to be a 5.5in 1440×2560 panel, which is larger than the 5.2in screen on the HTC 10. The battery is also expected to be larger, at 3,700mAh up from 3,000mAh, so it’s possible we’re looking at a slightly larger handset for 2017.
A screenshot leaked recently on Weibo purports to show the HTC U in a benchmarking app with the Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has a Quad-HD screen and is running Android Nougat with HTC Sense 9.0. (Click to enlarge.)
The best look at the HTC U we have so far comes from @evleaks, who tweeted the following image:
HTC needs to come up with a design that betters even the HTC 10. Plenty of manufacturers are trying to differentiate their phones, but there’s a limit to what you can do when you have to build around a 5.2in touchscreen. Hopefully HTC will do as expected and increase the screen size to 5.5in in its next flagship.
The latest rumours suggest HTC will remove all buttons from its next flagship phone, and will instead be operated using Edge Sense, which is based on finger slides and squeezes. This has also been highlighted in the video further up this page.
According to Android Headlines , the HTC U’s bezels can detect force, with a short squeeze differentiated from a long squeeze. Provided app devs can support it, this so-called Edge Sense could be an interesting feature.
In our opinion HTC took a step backwards by putting the speakers on the top and bottom edges of its 2016 HTC 10 flagship. It also made one handle high frequencies and the other low frequencies, and this led to a strange-sounding imbalance when watching videos.
We’re hoping that there will be a return to front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers.
Another feature we want to see is waterproofing. The 10 isn’t waterproof (not many phones are) but plenty of the latest gadgets are now IP67 or IP68 rated, and if HTC doesn’t tick this box, it’s just one more reason to buy from Samsung or Apple.
Better battery life is also on our HTC U wishlist. Until we see a breakthrough in battery technology, it’s probably too much to ask for two days between charging, but we would like the new phone to get through a day of hard use comfortably.
News that it will get a bump up to 3,700mAh (up from 3,000mAh) and support Quick Charge 4.0 is fantastic – you’ll charge it less often and it will take less time to do so.
However, the larger battery and larger screen rumours appear to point to a larger HTC flagship in 2017.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017
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