Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC is going to release fewer smartphones this year. The company might be able to reduce its financial losses by focusing on a small number of mid-range and premium smartphones. One of the most awaited HTC smartphones of this year is the flagship HTC U12, and the company has just previewed it at an event in Taiwan. The 5G event was hosted by telecom carrier Chunghwa Telecom.
Yes, this is HTC U12
At the event, HTC showed off the Gigabit LTE capabilities of its upcoming flagship, reports local news agency Sogi.com. HTC traditionally refreshes its flagship U line in May. The timing suggests that the phone showcased at the event could be U12, though HTC did not officially confirm it. It has a giant display with thin bezels and an 18:9 aspect ratio similar to the HTC U11 Plus, suggesting that it was a premium smartphone.
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The ever-reliable Twitter tipster Evan Blass confirmed in a tweet that the device showcased at the 5G event was indeed HTC U12, which is code-named HTC Imagine. The company did not specify any hardware details of the device, but we can see in the video shared by Sogi.com that the display curve is more pronounced than the HTC U11 Plus.
Apparently this lightly obfuscated handset on display at a 5G industry event is none other than HTC Imagine, aka "U12," aka the company's next flagship. https://t.co/f89KjGjEyX
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) February 5, 2018
Though the handset was showcased at a 5G event, it isn’t using 5G technology. The device was able to hit a download speed of 809.58 Mbps on a local cellular network, which is close to Gigabit speed. It will use Gigabit LTE with Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), which combines LTE with 5GHz WiFi band to offer greater bandwidth. GSM Arena speculates that the U12 might be running Qualcomm’s X20 LTE modem that will come with the Snapdragon 845 chipset. The X20 LTE modem offers download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps.
HTC U12 specs and release date
HTC executives told Sogi that the new phone with Gigabit LTE speed would launch sometime this year, without specifying the plans. Supply chain rumors suggest that the HTC U12 would feature a 6-inch display with 2880 x 1440p resolution. There are also speculations that it could offer 4K display resolution. The flagship phone is expected to feature 6GB RAM, a microSD card slot, an IP68 rating for water-resistance, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset.
Recent reports claimed that the HTC U12 could feature an iris scanner on the front to match the trend of offering face detection features on premium smartphones. Apple’s iPhone X has Face ID, and Samsung will reportedly add a new Intelligent Scan to its upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus flagship phones. The U12 is expected to run Android Oreo out of the box. It would retain HTC’s trademark Edge Sense feature that allows you to launch different apps by squeezing the sides of the device.
According to GizmoChina, the HTC U12 could ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. In the camera department, it is expected to feature a dual camera setup on the back and an 8MP shooter on the front. HTC President Chialin Chang has told media that the company was planning to add dual cameras to its phones this year, but it needed to “figure out how to make this feature stand out.” The U12 is said to have a metal and glass design.
Last year, HTC launched the U11 flagship in May. The U12 should also arrive in May this year. According to DigiTimes, HTC wants to focus its resources on a small number of mid-range and premium smartphones as it continues to lose market share. HTC’s mobile division posted a loss of TWD 7.1 billion (roughly $237 million) in the first three quarters of 2017. HTC’s past flagship phones have been praised by critics, but they failed to revive the company’s fortunes.