We strongly believe that HTC is gearing up to announce its new flagship HTC One (M9) smartphone on March 1, when it will hold its press conference during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. Plenty of leaks have suggested that the phone is on its way, and we’ve already seen more than enough images that seem to show a device that’s true to HTC’s design language.
HTC hasn’t confirmed this to anyone just yet, though, so we can really only work off the information that has spilled out of the supply chain and other sources. There seems to be enough information to paint an image of where HTC is heading, though just like Samsung and other firms, HTC very likely has a lot of fresh news coming that we still don’t know about, like its next version of Sense and maybe some other new gadgets.
Still, here’s what we think HTC has coming with the HTC One (M9), at least from a high-level view. Hopefully we find out more on March 1, but this is where we stand right now with our expectations.
1. Aluminum design
HTC would be silly to ditch its aluminum design, and we see no indication that it’s planning to do so with the HTC One (M9). HTC gained a lot of attention when it introduced the One (M7) with an aluminum unibody housing, and it followed that with the HTC One (M8), which took even more advantage of the material.
There’s really no other device like it on the market, and HTC will likely take advantage of that fact with the One (M9). Leaked images show a similar design for the company’s next flagship, which may also be available in a gold hue.
We’re expecting it to also ditch the black bar at the bottom of the display, which should provide room for beefier speakers, though we’ll address that in a bit.
2. More megapixels
The Ultrapixel camera is great, but it’s not so great if you ever want to zoom in and crop your photos: there’s just not enough resolution to go around. HTC might switch up the game this time by adding in a 20-megapixel rear-facing camera, at least according to some reports and to images of cases that suggest a large image sensor is incoming (see gallery above).
It may also include either a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens up front, which it also included on the HTC Desire EYE, or an UltraPixel front-facing camera. The reports on that front seem to vary. HTC hasn’t really suggested that it plans to ditch its UltraPixel camera altogether, so hopefully it sticks around in some fashion.
Either way: expect the best camera on an HTC phone to date.
3. Improved BoomSound
In the first section we mentioned that HTC is rumored to ditch the black bar under the screen, and we think we know why.
Doing so might enable it to add even larger BoomSound speakers for even crisper, louder sound for movies, music and games. HTC improved the experience between the One (M7) and the One (M8) by adding more powerful speakers and a beefier audio chip, and it seems likely it will do the same again.
The company loves touting its BoomSound speakers, and we expect that trend to continue on March 1.
4. New Sense
We suspect HTC is going to launch a new version of Sense with the One (M9), though we don’t know everything that’s going to be included yet. That means there’s bound to be a few surprises during the company’s press conference.
A few alleged screenshots of Sense 7 on Android 5.0 Lollipop spilled out back in October, but they didn’t provide any information on what HTC has planned. HTC went through Sense 6 with a fine-toothed comb, changing nearly every pixel in the interface with updated color palates and themes, new news sources for BlinkFeed and changes to the camera, gallery and app tray.
Maybe we’ll see the introduction of a brand-new feature like BlinkFeed, or maybe it will simply include changes to everything. We suspect Sense is going to change for the better.
5. Beefy New Hardware
There have been concerns that Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 810 processor is overheating, though apparently HTC hasn’t had any issues on that front, at least none that we’ve heard of. The new One (M9) will reportedly sport the new processor in addition to 3GB of RAM, which should help it slice through Android 5.0 Lollipop and Sense 7 without any issue.
That’s a nice bump from the One (M8), pictured above. HTC has always been amazing at optimizing its software to run well on devices, and we’re expecting that to continue with the One (M9). That processor should have more than enough power to pump a Quad HD display, but rumor has it HTC is sticking with 1080p. Maybe that means we can also expect exceptional battery life.
We think HTC has a big event planned and the One (M9) is likely to be one of many announcements on March 1. If the company executes right, it won’t only please HTC fans, but maybe even some possible Apple and Samsung converts, too. That will likely depend on distinguishing features, which HTC has been great at introducing in the past, so hopefully we see a few more added to the mix early next month.