Back in March, the HTC One M8 became the first member of a star-studded class of top phones in 2014. With its rich front-facing stereo speakers, gorgeous 5-inch 1080p display and beautiful all-metal body, the One M8 offered one of the best all-around smartphone experiences from any manufacturer. But 9 months is a long time in the smartphone industry so it’s time for HTC to refresh its flagship device with a new look and updated components.
While there has yet to be an official announcement regarding a future One M9, there have been some interesting leaks and rumors which may shed some light on what’s to come from HTC.
Design and Display
We’re expecting the One M9 to retain its trademark all-metal enclosure. According to noted leaker, @upleaks, a new HTC phone codenamed “Hima” which may be the One M9 will keep the same 5-inch 1920 x 1080 sized display from the One M8. This report has been corroborated by a recent benchmark shot from AnTuTu spotted by Nowhereelse.fr.
Another leak from Steve Hemmerstoffer of Nowhereelse shows a reported CES press shot of Hima, notably lacking the front-facing speakers of HTC's last two flagship smartphones.
The most exciting design for the One M9 comes not from HTC, but AndroidJS graphic designer Jermaine Smit, who rendered his concept of what a new One M9 might look like. This design retains cues from previous HTC models while still pushing the aesthetic forward and incorporating front-facing speakers.
Getting rid of the front-facing speakers would eliminate one of the best features of the One M7 and M8, and take a step back for HTC’s smartphone design.
The leaked AnTuTu benchmark also reveals some alleged internal specs showing the Hima running Android 5.0 on a Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM, up from the Snapdragon 805 CPU and 2GB of RAM on the One M8. The inclusion of the Snapdragon 810 seems like a sure thing after Samsung’s recent announcement of the Galaxy Note 4 LTE-A, which will also use Qualcomm’s new 64-bit SoC.
The Snapdragon 810 processor allows for even faster LTE speeds (up to four times quicker), increased graphics power and enhanced image processing for better photos and video.
The most dramatic change for the One M9 seems to be HTC’s departure from its low-resolution Ultrapixel cameras. The AnTuTu benchmarks show the upcoming One M9 sporting a 20.7-megapixel rear camera and a 13-MP shooter in front.
This may indicate that HTC will use a version of the 20.7-MP camera from the Sony Xperia Z3 to help boost its photographic capabilities, something the HTC One M8 fell short on when compared to other flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6.
The front camera is most likely a tweaked version of the selfie-cam from the HTC Desire Eye, a logical choice after seeing the impressive shots captured by HTC's selfie-centric phone.
Release Date and Price
Without an official announcement from HTC, price and release date are biggest unknowns. HTC’s history points to a springtime release for the One M9, but it may opt to move the launch back to better combat the usual summer and fall releases from other companies. We expect HTC to stick with similar pricing to its past flagships, which would have the One M9 at around $200 on contract or $650 for the unlocked or possible Google Play Experience versions.
Since the Taiwanese firm recently sent out invitations to a media event on March 1 in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, that's a very likely date for the official One M9 announcement. We will be reporting live from the show in Spain, so stay tuned for the latest news.