Despite having one of the most highly-regarded devices of 2017, HTC’s U11 failed to make waves in the sea of smartphone sales, and as a result, the Taiwanese company was awash in the turbulent waters of income issues. Things looked slightly more stable when Google announced it was purchasing the corporation’s division responsible for crafting its Pixel division, but there was an air of mystery surrounding future phones: Would HTC close shop? The company quickly reassured everyone that wasn’t the case – at least for now – and then proved its point by releasing the U11 Plus. Now, what looks like it could be the first real leak of this year’s flagship, the HTC U12, has jumped out of the ocean with a ravishing render seen above.
While the image doesn’t offer too much in the way of design language, the volume rocker and power button can be seen flanking the right side of the device, and a cut out on the bottom for the presumed USB Type-C port. As can seemingly be expected these days, there is no semblance of space for a headphone jack, which will likely be cast away once again. SuggestPhone indicates the flagship is likely to ship with a 4K display, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. The fingerprint sensor will presumably be located on the back of the device, or perhaps facial unlocking would be used instead.
Making sense of a phone with Sense
While some may already be rejoicing at the idea of the above device featuring a 4K panel, it should be pointed out that only Sony’s Xperia line currently has such a display and only two models at that. What’s more, the 4K resolution is not actually turned “on” save for specific situations with media consumption. This is due to the incredible hit on battery life that would come from non-stop usage. Consider, for example, that Samsung actually shipped all of its 2017 flagships with the displays set to FHD+ as opposed to QHD+.
Additionally, the idea of HTC packing such a display on a flagship would likely come at a massive cost to the company given the relatively small production lines when compared to the likes of Samsung, Apple, or Huawei. None of its high-end phones last year made use of AMOLED, which is in and of itself more expensive than LCD, so it remains to be seen just how exactly the Taiwanese company could up the resolution so dramatically and yet still make a profit on the phones.
Another question is the launch timing. HTC has been consistently announcing its phones later than both Samsung and LG in recent years. Will 2018 follow suit? One possible indication of an earlier release might be the U Ultra, which hit stores last January. Unfortunately, the pricing of the phone along with the “reused” gimmick of a second screen (i.e. the LG V10, LG V20) made for what was ultimately a flop. On the other hand, the U 11+ released just a couple of months ago so obscuring the product with a quick major upgrade is questionable.
In addition, there is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. According to an alledged leaked product release listing, the HTC U12 isn’t supposed to come out until May:
Rounding off the HTC rumors for today, SuggestPhone also indicated that HTC is likely to release another device this year, codenamed Ocean Harmony. It would be a mid-range variant of the HTC U11 Plus, with a 5.99-inch display (18:9 aspect ratio), Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage.
Presumably more leaks will be coming soon from one, or possibly even both phones. Stay tuned for more details.