HTC may be one of the leading lights in virtual reality with its HTC Vive headset, but it’s struggled to remain at the forefront of smartphones, even after last year’s HTC 10 made up for many previous missteps.
The company has already unveiled a pair of smartphones this year — the HTC U Ultra arrives in March, with the more compact HTC U Play launching in select markets — but those aren’t the only devices we expect to see from HTC this year.
Expect another flagship phone from HTC in 2017, a successor to the HTC 10. Rumors about the HTC 11, also known as HTC Ocean, have been swirling since last fall. And as we get closer to an announcement, details finally seem to be falling into place. Here’s what to expect with the HTC 11.
When Is the HTC 11 Coming Out?
There’s no official word on a release date for HTC’s next big phone, but we have enough clues to make a pretty good guess. Samsung, which is working on a big phone launch of its own in the form of the Galaxy S8, has reportedly locked up a timed exclusivity deal on the Snapdragon 835 for that phone. It’s increasingly looking like the S8 will debut in late March, which would push the release date for other phones powered by the Snapdragon 835 to the May/June timeframe.
The HTC U Ultra is no slouch when it comes to processing power — it runs on a Snapdragon 821 CPU — so it’s possible that HTC might wait until the second half of the year to unveil another high-end phone. Just don’t bet on the company waiting too long past July, when the HTC 11 would be in the crosshairs of high-profile releases like the iPhone 8, Pixel 2 and (potentially) a new Galaxy Note.
What Will the HTC 11 Be Called?
Probably not the HTC 11. Chialin Chang, HTC’s president of smartphone and connected business devices, confirmed in an interview with Engadget that the company would be breaking from that naming convention with the next flagship.
The internal codename for this device appears to be the HTC Ocean, but internal codenames rarely persist to the final consumer product. One possibility that emerged thanks to a brief glimpse in an HTC video in January, is that HTC trades on its VR success and uses the Vive branding for its flagship smartphone as well.
What Are the HTC 11 Specs?
There have been few credible leaks about HTC 11 specs to date. HTC’s Chang gave one of the only definitive pieces of information speaking to Tbreak: “When the next flagship CPU comes, HTC will be one of the very first tier doing that.” It doesn’t take much guesswork to figure out that’s the aforementioned Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.
A recent screenshot posted to Chinese social network Weibo offered some additional details which match many expectations for the device including 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, but the credibility of that leak was called into question due to a few inconsistencies in the image, including a typo identifying the Android version number as 7.12 rather than 7.1.2.
Based on what HTC did with both the Ultra and U Play as well as last year’s HTC Bolt, we can reasonably assume that the HTC 11 will also drop the 3.5mm headphone jack and bundle the company’s USB C powered USonic earphones, which use sonic pulses to detect the unique structure of your ear and tweak the audio in response.
What Features Will Appear in the HTC 11?
There’s been little hard evidence to support some of the rumored features of the HTC 11, tbut here have been multiple rounds of rumors that all sound like plausible upgrades for the latest and greatest from HTC.
A return to dual cameras on the back of the device has been one such rumor, something that HTC introduced in 2011 with the HTC Evo 3D and tried again with 2014’s HTC One M8. With other phone makers from Apple to LG to Huawei now popularizing that feature, HTC may be tempted to try again. Cameras are certainly one of the areas where companies are setting high-end devices apart from the rest of the crowd so this would be a logical move to set the HTC 11 above the HTC U Ultra.
Another rumor that first cropped up thanks to an HTC designer’s video captured by frequent smartphone tipster Evan Blass is that the HTC 11 will include touch sensitive edges. The first video posted in September was an animated concept, but a follow-up in January offered more official-looking live action video that showed a someone launching apps, navigating UI and even taking a selfie by using the edges of the device.
How Will the HTC 11 Be Different from the HTC U Ultra?
Until we hear more about the new phone, the primary differentiator looks to be the bump up to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which is no small matter. This is Qualcomm’s first mobile processor built on the 10nm process node and carries with it a 27 percent boost in power, while reducing power consumption by 40 percent and the physical size of the processor by 30 percent.
What Will the HTC 11 Cost?
There is potential for some sticker shock with the HTC 11. The HTC U Ultra has staked out pretty high-end pricing starting at $749, matching the launch price for flagship class devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7. Naturally, the expectation is that we see a price bump for the device that HTC considers its true flagship for 2017, so pricing for the HTC 11 could start at $799 to $849.