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HTC 11 (2017) release date, specs, price, news and HTC U Ocean rumours

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What you need to know about the HTC U Ocean and HTC 11

The HTC U ‘Ocean' is official, replacing the long-expected (but never launched) HTC 11 as the company’s 2017 flagship smartphone. Here’s everything we know about the HTC U release date, specs, and price, plus all the latest news and rumours.

(Update: April 20, 2017): In a press release, HTC confirmed the existence of the HTC U smartphone, and even offered up a launch date. Read on to find out more.

The HTC 10 was a return to form for HTC, with an iconic design, slick Android skin and great audio quality. That’s why we’re already looking forward to what’s coming next out of HTC HQ.

But when it comes to HTC U rumours, things aren’t quite as clear as we’d hoped. HTC has revealed that a new phone is coming in May, but details are still thin on the ground. We’ve seen just a handful of leaks to date, leaving us largely in the dark.

So what do we know for sure? Well, the phone is definitely going to be called HTC U. For a time, it was believed that we’d see the HTC 11 this year, but HTC says no such phone is in the works. We’d also heard that the HTC U was being developed under the codename ‘Ocean’, but it now seems certain that this name won’t actually be used in official branding.

For all the latest information about the HTC U, read on.

Latest HTC U News

When does the HTC U come out? May 16, 2017 (reveal)

What’s new about the HTC U? Super-fast Snapdragon 835 chip, Android Nougat?

How much will the HTC U cost? £550+ (estimate)

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Related: Samsung Galaxy S8

HTC U RELEASE DATE UK & US – WHEN WILL THE HTC 11 COME OUT?

HTC has confirmed that the HTC U launch date will fall on May 16, 2017. Specifically, we’ll see the launch take place at 7am in London, 2am in New York, and 2pm in Taipei – HTC’s home turf.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a firm idea of when the phone will actually go on sale. Here’s a brief history of previous HTC flagship releases, for contrast:

  • HTC 10 – April 12, 2016
  • HTC One M9 – March 1, 2015
  • HTC One M8 – March 25, 2014
  • HTC One M7 – February 19, 2013

HTC clearly favours the first half of the year, so it’s highly likely that the HTC U will arrive before July. Still, it seems the cogs of manufacturing have moved slower this year. Speaking to TBreak, Chialin Chang, HTC’s President of Smartphones and Connected Devices, explained that the company is having to wait for the right components before debuting a new handset.

“Every time there is a brand new CPU with power that we can leverage, we’re always at the forefront doing that,” he explained. “Some people are talking about the timing, but timing was determined nine months ago. This [the Snapdragon 821 inside the HTC Ultra U is the best CPU out there. When the next flagship CPU comes, HTC will be one of the very first tier doing that.”

“When we will look back, it will be clear why HTC introduced [the Ultra phones]. We want to have a couple of months of leadership before the next flagship CPU comes,” he continued, adding: “But that will be in another period of time – not at MWC. Not for us or any other player, I can tell you that for sure. When the new CPU comes, HTC will have another flagship.”

HTC U FEATURES – WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE HTC 11?

As usual, we’re expecting some significant hardware and software upgrades for HTC’s 2017 flagship. The latest leak suggests the following specs:

  • 5.5-inch screen
  • QHD display resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • Quick Charge 4.0
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • 12-megapixel dual primary camera
  • 8-megapixel selfie camera
  • 3,700mAh battery

The following image was also posted in the same leak:

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However, that leak comes courtesy of China's Weibo microblogging platform, so we're going to suggest taking it with due caution for now.

Here’s what we reckon we’ll see from the HTC U.

HTC U SCREEN, DESIGN AND CAMERA

The first major rumour related to a handset known only as the ‘HTC Ocean’, which was leaked as a concept by a HTC designer. It included a feature called ‘Sense Touch’ that allowed users to perform functions by swiping or tapping the edge.

That rumour was boosted by the fact that prolific tipster Evan Blass claimed his source says the HTC Ocean is very real:

He's even posted what he claims is an image of the device to Twitter, depicting an all-black handset that appears to have avoided the all-screen front design we've seen from the latest Samsung and LG flagships:

The only other leak we’ve seen so far comes via Weibo, with a leaker suggesting we’ll see the HTC U featuring a 5.5-inch display with a fairly standard QHD resolution – that’s 1,440 x 2,560 pixels. That’s the same resolution used for the HTC 10, although that phone had a smaller 5.2-inch display (and thus would have a higher 565ppi pixel density).

The leak also suggested we’d see a 12-megapixel camera on the rear of the device, with a secondary 8-megapixel camera handling selfies on the front. That’s not really an improvement as far as the primary camera goes, although we’re guessing the imaging technology would be improved. Perhaps a dual module would be introduced à la the iPhone 7 Plus? The good news is that the 8-megapixel selfie snapper is a step up over the 5-megapixel shooter featured on the HTC 10.

We can also take a guess and say with some degree of certainty that the Snapdragon 835 system-on-a-chip (SoC) will feature in the HTC U. It’s Qualcomm’s newest and most powerful smartphone chip, and has already debuted in the Samsung Galaxy S8 (and is confirmed to appear in an upcoming Sony device too). However, it didn't appear in the LG G6, which could give the HTC U an advantage.

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HTC has a history of using Qualcomm fare; the HTC 10 ran on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip, for instance. So it would be entirely unsurprising if the Snapdragon 835 featured in the HTC U, particularly as it’s a brand new chip.

What’s special about the SD835 is that it’s built on a 10nm manufacturing process, which is far more efficient than the 14nm process used for the SD820. This means we’d expect to see more power or better power efficiency from the SD835 – Qualcomm claims improvements of 27% for the former and 40% for the latter. The chip also features Qualcomm’s new Quick Charge 4.0 technology, which should see charging times decrease by 20% compared to the old Quick Charge 3.0.

With all these improvements in mind, we’d be very surprised if the HTC U shipped with anything other than a Snapdragon 835 on board.

It's worth noting that a recently leaked screenshot (via China) suggested that the Huawei P10 would carry the Snapdragon 835, so that's good news.

Related: iPhone 8

HTC U SOFTWARE – ANDROID 7.0 OR ANDROID 8.0?

It’s very likely that the HTC U will run on Android 7.0 Nougat. After all, the HTC 10 is already running on Nougat, despite launching with Android 6.0 Marshmallow on board.

Google announced Nougat in March last year, releasing it in late summer. It added split-screen apps, support for the Vulkan graphics API, and seamless system updates. We gave Android 7.0 Nougat a 4/5 score in our review, praising its richer drop-down menu, impressive gaming power as a result of Vulkan support, and long-awaited app multi-tasking interactions. Here’s our verdict:

“Android 7.0 Nougat is actually a more dramatic change than it at first appears. On the surface, it looks like Google has simply adopted its own versions of features we’ve seen before, such as Multi-Window multi-tasking and customisable drop-down feature toggles.”

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It continues: “However, there’s been some important behind-the-scenes progress. The Vulkan API is good news for the future of high-end Android games – if developers find a way to tear themselves away from free-to-play casual projects. And the first steps in multi-tasking that involves two apps directly communicating with one another is exciting – even if its uses right now are limited.”

The alternative would be the HTC U running on Android 8.0, although we’d say that’s unlikely. Google probably won’t have announced the new version of Android by the time the HTC U launches, and even if it has, it almost certainly won’t appear on third-party handsets for many months after the reveal.

Related: CES 2017

HTC U PRICE

Unfortunately, price leaks are very rare, so we probably won’t know the cost of the handset until it goes on sale. But just like the release date, we can take a good guess at how much the HTC U will cost by looking back at the pricing history for previous flagship HTC phones:

  • HTC 10 – £569.99
  • HTC One M9 – £580
  • HTC One M8 – £529.99
  • HTC One M7 – £549.99

What’s clear is that top-end HTC smartphones don’t come cheap, but there’s also a trend of the company selling phones between £500 and £600. We reckon it’ll be closer to the top end of that pricing window in 2017, unless the price of the pound rises to pre-June 2016 levels. Somewhere around £599 or higher would be expected, in these post-referendum times. Don't forget that the new Samsung Galaxy S8 starts at £689, so pricing for the HTC U could match that lofty price tag.

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SHOULD YOU WAIT FOR THE HTC U?

It’s hard to recommend waiting for the HTC U, because we’ve got no idea if the phone will be good or not. HTC has a mixed track record when it comes to flagships, but we’re hoping to be impressed. With such a short time to go until the launch, it could be worth hanging around to see what HTC has up its sleeve.

But don’t forget that there are plenty of other phones that will be vying for your cash this year too, including the recently announced LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8.These will almost certainly eventually be followed by the OnePlus 4, the iPhone 8, and the Galaxy Note 8.

And there are a whole host of great phones you could currently buy too, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, our 'Phone of the Year' for 2016. We’re also happy to recommend the new Google Pixel and the even newer OnePlus 3T.

Related: Best Android Phones 2016

Watch: OnePlus 3T review

What would you like to see from the HTC U? Let us know in the comments.

obk88

December 8, 2016, 8:50 pm

How about the dual camera lens a la the htc one M8

Justin Kalis

December 8, 2016, 10:29 pm

If they want to knock this M11 out of the park they need to listen to their customers or they will continue to slide as they have been. Take the excellent work they have done on the Pixel and incorporate that into their M11. Bring back dual front facing speakers, implement full front glass design like Moto X/Nexus 6 with metal speaker bar grills. Back facing finger print scanner, Dual cameras with gyro/iod image stabilization, 8gb of ram because Android needs it to maintain super smooth performance on low battery which is when lag occurs most. Dual cameras should not occupy the upper left bezel area like the pixel does but should remain in the center back part of the phone as M9 did. Refine the back design to have removable battery like LG V20 and incorporate UFS 2.1 ROM storage. Release pure Android OS for faster OS updates make skins and HTC unique features as Play Store options instead for those who like the mods. Do this and HTC will take the crown from everyone in the market. Get rid of Samsung front home button go back to being HTC and stop trying to copy Samsung and Apple. Make sure this phone has the best non-headphone sound and volume of any phone ever focusing on music lovers, and the phone call quality and reception and this will be the greatest phone ever made. No one has a better looking back half of a smartphone than HTC they need to leverage it and fix the ugly front face by going all glass with no physical buttons. Funny how 2016 everyone did the Samsung button and now Samsung and Apple are rumored to release phones with no buttons in 2017..!!

RockStar2005

December 9, 2016, 3:41 am

No mention of the audio quality, amp/DAC??

RockStar2005

December 9, 2016, 4:00 pm

Agreed with EVERYTHING!

wolf61

December 10, 2016, 10:10 pm

HTC is in a strategic and operational chaos; downgraded to contract manufacturer position for Google's Pixel, the 11 or whatever they will call the next mobile, will compete against the Pixel, Samsung, LG, Sony and soon to come MS and...Nokia.

With the VR blob destined to remain nothing more than a helmet for a number of limited applications, HTC is heading slowly and certainly to a place where will keep company to Blackberry....

Arn

December 14, 2016, 7:18 pm

The deciding factor for me will be the call ringing volume which should be at least the equal of the htc One8 that I presently use. This is where Samsung and the i Phones among others fail dismally.

fraserb64

December 27, 2016, 12:00 am

how about the Nougat upgrade for the 10 in Europe before the 11 lands?
New phone less than 6 months old beginning to feel a little obsolete

Logic First

December 27, 2016, 7:09 pm

Just give me a headphone jack and I'll buy it

Brady McKenzie

January 3, 2017, 1:06 am

Yes, no a la Iphone 7, pfft. my M8 did this years ago

JON @segujer

January 5, 2017, 6:53 am

so this is all u had to put up with a little "all you need to know"

-because we’ve got no idea if the phone will be good or not.- bs articles about rumours😈😈😯

Fred Brown

January 10, 2017, 2:22 pm

Just to be clear HTC was the first to introduce a dual rear camera, A LA HTC ONE M8.

Fred Brown

January 10, 2017, 2:30 pm

HTC has the best VR headset on the market. Those other headsets are a poor excuse for VR. Sure they are more practical and simpler but they don't push any boundaries, they simply glue your phone 2 inches from your eyes. The HTC vive is a whole other story. HTC has led the smart phone market to what it is today, hell apple has been inspired by HTC for years, with most of their noticeable upgrades being extremely similar to that which HTC has done. As far as the Google pixel goes, it's one of the best if not the best phone out right now, and it only makes sense for HTC to take on the contract considering HTC and Google have been working close to provide a better Android user experience, with better optimization, something apple has had an upper hand on as far s games and apps go. One thing HTC definitely has the upper hand on is touch response, HTC has had the fastest touch response since the HTC m8 when it was the first to feature a touch response below 50ms twice as fast as the iPhone and others, this is one area Samsung falls short.

Fred Brown

January 10, 2017, 2:39 pm

It's poor journalism. This is what happens when bias, or uninformed journalists or bloggers write for tech sites.

Vincent Aquilino

January 11, 2017, 6:24 pm

A screen that works with polorized sunglasses,The htc 10 screen does not and it was not disclosed.I don't want to have to rotate the phone to landscape mode.That sucks!

Chris Jones

January 22, 2017, 3:22 pm

Wrong it was the EVO 3D

Jordan Bradfish

January 24, 2017, 10:39 pm

What do you say about the reports that the U Ultra is HTCs new flagship phone, and that there will be no Ocean or 11? Claims made on Forbes say this is it, and there are no carrier partnerships or device payment plans for the U. It has the 17 mp camera and same 3000 MA battery. Not sure I believe this is all we can expect from them.

Justin Kalis

January 27, 2017, 2:51 pm

8Gb of RAM is a must if they don't have that I'm not buying an HTC until they ship a device with 8Gb of RAM. That is how much memory is needed to overcome their skinned launcher from lagging over long use.

Darwin Simmons

January 27, 2017, 6:20 pm

Right,,,,,Made by HTC.

jimmy

February 27, 2017, 1:17 am

yup if HTC did what you just described they would blow the competition away.

HTCthe1st&Best

March 8, 2017, 11:38 am

I agree for the most part but the ram would be fine with 6mb's as I honestly dont see 8 happening but 6 yes. Also the removable battery I believe you wont ever see that.

I add to your list 3500 mah battery, a plus version with 5.7 or 5.9 screen and last but not least add on a google play model or dev model which would be pure google like nexus and guarantee system updates to be put out with in 30 days or less of google releasing them. This option of a google play phone will pick up many nexus buyers since google dropped the nexus phones. Pure android and quick updates will sell then give 3 year guarantee of system updates and they would need to be prepared to keep up with sales unlike the pixel xls been on back order from day 1 cant keep up so Htc take one up on pixel and make the best phone available and dont cheap out.

Baldrick's Trousers

March 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

HTC need to offer the higher memory version in the EU. With the last flagship, the 10, they had 32GB or 64GB, but refused to sell the 64GB version in Europe. I do not understand why they would not offer the 64GB here, even if it was only from their own website.

So, we don't know whether the prospective HTC 11 will have 32GB and 64GB versions, or 64GB and 128GB versions. But whichever it is, they should at least give us the option of buying the larger storage version even if it is at a premium price. I think they'll be surprised how much they'll sell.

Knowbody

March 13, 2017, 11:13 pm

They had better not leave out a headphone jack. If they do, I definitely won't be buying one.

Knowbody

March 13, 2017, 11:23 pm

I'd be fine with 6GB of RAM. I'd prefer 8GB though.
These are the must-have features for me:
• A headphone jack
• An unlocked/unlockable bootloader
• A MicroSD card reader
• Support for all available bands

Things that aren't essential but would make me buy one phone over another:
• Snapdragon 835
• Stereo speakers
• High quality DAC
• Removable battery
• Good camera with manual control
• IP67/IP68
• AMOLED screen
• Large battery capacity

Jason Lunt

March 30, 2017, 5:29 pm

Hi, will the htc 11 still be coming out after the u ultra was brought out?

Michael Johnson

April 1, 2017, 5:23 pm

Some of the specs I read say it will have 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 128GB onboard storage and will take up to a 2TB micro SD card.....sick!

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