All New HTC One FCC

The other day during a brief phone call, our president Jonathan Rettinger asked me a question. The query has stuck in my head for a while now, and I think there’s at least some discussion to be had on the topic. Is HTC’s new flagship, allegedly dubbed the All New HTC One, the most leaked phone ever? I think it’s in the running, and the leaks are ruining the surprise.

My first reaction to his question was no way – that title has to be reserved for the iPhone. Maybe it was when Gizmodo actually got its hands on the iPhone 4 – or maybe it was last year leading into the launch of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. We had seen practically everything leading into Apple’s launch. Then I got to thinking.

There’s a huge difference between what we’ve seen leading into HTC’s announcement on March 25 and the iPhone leaks. There’s a bigger difference with these leaks than even with the Galaxy S5. While we had heard rumors that the Galaxy S5 was going to sport a heart rate monitor, most of the leaks weren’t incredibly accurate leading up to the announcement. Some folks were still calling for a quad HD display, and we hadn’t seen what it looked like (until hours before when one site appeared to have spilled the beans accidentally). With the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c leaks, we had a look at the shell, but we weren’t really sure of the fingerprint reader on the face of the device, and we hadn’t seen any press images. The All New HTC One leaks have been an entirely different beast.

Is there even going to be a surprise?

We’ve already seen what look like accurate press images. We already know it’s going to have two cameras on the back. We know it’s going to launch in black, gray and gold options to start. We know it’s going to hit Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint in the United States. Leaked sales guides have revealed the inner specs, including a Snapdragon 801 processor, 16GB of storage, microSD card support, a 2,600mAh battery and a 5-megapixel front-facing wide-angle camera. We even had a brief walkthrough video that gave us an early hands-on look. How will the camera work this time around? The same sales guide told us that it will allow you to refocus your images after the fact.

I think, and hope, HTC still has a few software features that drop our jaws. And I’m willing to bet the industrial design is going to knock our socks off. Save for touching the device, though, it seems we almost know everything that’s coming. Rarely do we have that kind of view of a device leading into its launch date. I don’t think it’s a good thing, really. Consumers are excited, but it takes away and surprise that the company might have been hoping to show off.

In terms of the number of leaks, I think maybe the iPhone still has the lead. That’s because people start chattering about Apple’s new devices more than a year in advance. I can’t say we know anything about the new HTC One because we haven’t seen it yet and HTC hasn’t confirmed it. However, considering that almost every rumor from sources all around the globe line up, there’s a good chance that a lot of the information we’ve seen is accurate. And I think from that angle – from the videos, the photos, the specs, the leaked guides and more – the All New One really is one of the, if not the, most leaked phones I’ve ever seen.

From what I can tell, none of it was on purpose. I don’t think HTC wanted this information out there. As it struggles to compete against Samsung and Apple, the worst possible thing that can happen is for leaks of its flagship market to spill out the way they have.

Me? I really enjoy when I get to sit at a press event and see something that I’ve never seen before. I love hearing from product managers, engineers, software architects, designers and more, all of whom have spent months, years even, poring their lives into a new device. These are passionate people who wake up every day and think about how they can change the industry, how they can create the best possible device for you the consumer. And then we all wake up. And we all see their hard work splattered over the Internet.

I kind of wish these leaks didn’t happen the way they do – it’s much more fun for all of us to let a company introduce its product, and to hear the full story from the people who make a living building devices, the people who love to build devices.