HTC’s star is on the rise at the moment, with the company having put out two great flagship phones in consecutive years with the HTC 10 and the HTC U11. The Taiwanese company is probably hoping to continue that winning streak with the HTC U12 — the direct follow-up to the HTC U11. But what can we expect from HTC’s likely follow-up? Here’s everything we know about the HTC U12 so far.
HTC has been tight-lipped about possible design choices for the HTC U12, but it’s safe to say that we’re likely to see a move towards a bezel-less design, unlike the old-timey look of the HTC U11. Early renders from @evleaks of the HTC U12+, which may be a bigger version of the HTC U12 show little about how big the screen is, but is does show a dual-sensor camera on both the front and the back of the phone. It also shows the fingerprint sensor being placed on the back.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) March 15, 2018
With the increased use of edge-to-edge displays, it’s fair that face-on renders of a phone would be underwhelming. Still, it’s an exciting new move for HTC, and seems to be all-but-confirmed, thanks to a tweet from #iamaniff, a senior member at XDA Developers.
"HTC today (1/29) participated in the inaugural meeting of "Taiwan 5G Industry Alliance – Chunghwa Telecom Pilot Team," featuring Vive PRO, Vive Focus, unlisted VR devices from Taiwan and HTC phones that have not been released to the public" pic.twitter.com/dZaMBygO39
— #iamaniff (@iamaniff) January 30, 2018
The tweet shows photos of unreleased HTC phones, sporting a clearly “bezel-light” design. The tops and bottoms of the units have been covered up, presumably to aid in stand stability — but also to stop further details of a new phone from leaking. While not confirmed, these are likely test units of the new HTC U12.
A bezel-less design would require the fingerprint scanner to be moved, as it had previously taken residence underneath the display. Could HTC have cracked the under-screen fingerprint scanner that Vivo has managed, or would we be seeing the scanner move to the rear of the device, like the OnePlus 5T? At the moment, the latter is probably more likely, but don’t discount HTC trying to get ahead of the market on under-screen fingerprint sensing.
Whether Edge Sense will return remains to be seen. The “squeeze-to-activate” function was well-received enough on the HTC U11 for Google to request the feature in the Pixel 2 range, and so it seems likely that it would return in the U12. Of course, HTC may decide to try something new instead.
A leaked list of phones that contain the upcoming powerful Snapdragon 845 immediately answers our question of the HTC U12’s likely processor. With many 2018 flagships tipped to contain Qualcomm’s latest chip, it would be odd if HTC released a flagship without the newest thing in processing power.
The tweet from #iamaniff seems to confirm the presence of the Snapdragon 845, with the phone being showcased as almost pulling gigabit-level speeds — a feat the 845 has been designed to help achieve.
Other specifications don’t have such a clear answer. It would be odd for HTC to release a flagship phone with less RAM or storage than the previous flagship, so it’s safe to assume that the U12 will have an option for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. Whether the U12 would see the end of a 4GB/64GB model remains to be seen, but we reckon that while the model with 64GB of storage will remain, a lower-priced model with 4GB of RAM will be given the heave-ho. Still, that’s pure speculation at this point.
Launch and release date
Mobile World Congress came and went without a new HTC flagship device, so we’re expecting the phone to be launched at a HTC-dedicated event instead. Because of that, we expect the phone to be launched at some point later in March or April.
The HTC U11 launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, but was upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo in fairly short order. With Google’s I/O conference in May, we think the HTC U12 will launch with the latest version of Android Oreo, and will be upgraded to the newer version of Android a few months after it’s released by Google. Either way, the U12 will have HTC’s Sense UI laid over the top of whatever version of Android it’s running.
Updated on March 15: Added leak from @evleaks and rewrote “Launch and release date” section given MWC has come and gone without a launch from HTC.
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