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HTC One M9 release date, specification and price

By Simon Thomas on 13th January 2015

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UPDATED: The HTC One M8 (pictured above) was launched almost a year ago so it’s approaching time for a successor. That phone hasn’t yet been announced but it’s certainly been rumoured.  

In fact news and leaks about the HTC One M9 are flooding in, with the phone expected to launch early this year. But is it even going to be called the HTC One M9 or are we about to see the HTC Hima?

Read on for all the news and updates including the latest on the HTC One M9's release date, specs and design.

Release date

HTC is yet to announce when it'll officially unveil the One M9, but it tends to stick to a fairly rigid pattern, releasing its flagship phones within a few weeks of MWC. 

This year’s MWC takes place between the 3rd and 5th of March, so we’ll likely see an announcement either during the show or shortly afterwards, with a release likely to take place the very same month.

Adding credence to that, the notorious tipster @evleaks wrote that: “Slated for a first quarter 2015 launch, the HTC M9 and HTC M9 Prime will be the next full refreshes of the One Mx family”

However @upleaks isn’t so sure we’ll see it at MWC, tweeting that “I think HTC won’t announce Hima at MWC 2015, it may be announced at their special event…” But then clarifying that they still think March is on the cards, so as MWC happens at the beginning of March it’s likely that the HTC Hima will be announced sometime after it.

What will it be called?

Given HTC’s current naming conventions it was assumed that its next flagship would be called the HTC One M9, but it seems that might not be the case after all. According to at @upleaks it will actually be called the HTC Hima. Whether the new name means a radically different phone to the HTC One M8 or not remains to be seen.

Specification

We don't currently have any official information about the HTC One M9, but it’s possible that it will bear a resemblance to the HTC One M8 Prime, which was rumoured to have a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 display with a pixel density of 534 pixels per inch and has since been canned.

The super phone was also thought to have a 2.5GHz snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM. However, the HTC One M9 could be even more powerful than that as there's talk of either a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 or octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor being included in the new flagship.

Recent rumours suggest something in the middle, with Stuff claiming that it might come with a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM, making it a match for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

The site also echoes the QHD resolution rumours, claiming that it could have a 5.2-inch 2560 x 1440 display with a pixel density of 564 pixels per inch. Finally the site mentions choices of 64 or 128GB of storage and that the battery will be larger than the 2600 mAh one in the HTC One M8. It will also almost certainly run Android 5.0 Lollipop, since that’s now available.

One thing we have heard is that the camera might have an optical zoom. That’s almost unheard of in smartphones, with only the Galaxy Zoom range and a couple of others really offering it, one reason for that is that it means the lens takes up more space, so it’s hard to make the phone as slim, but it does significantly improve its photographic capabilities.

In a conversation with Vodafone, HTC’s imaging specialist Symon Whitehorn said that: “Optical zooming in a smartphone is not too far off at all for HTC. I can’t give too much away, but within 12-18 months we’ll see huge advances in phone optics.”

It might prove that the One M9's release is just a little too soon for the optical zoom and we've also heard rumours that it'll have a 13 megapixel camera, as opposed to the Ultrapixel snapper featured on the M8. But the Duo Camera element is still likely to be retained enabling you to change the focus after a shot has been taken.

While we’re not convinced that we’ll see optical zoom, it does look like the HTC One M9 might have optical image stabilisation. According to Chinese site MyDrivers the phone will have a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, in which case we can almost certainly say goodbye to UltraPixels. 

The site also sheds some light on other aspects of the HTC One M9’s specs, claiming that it will have a 5.5 inch 2560 x 1440 display (which conflicts with earlier 5.2 inch rumours), a Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32, 64 or 128GB of storage and a 3500 mAh battery.

Apparently HTC may also be partnering with Bose to give its audio a boost, while we may also see an HTC One M9 Prime, though there’s no word on what that will entail.

@upleaks also has some thoughts on the possible specs, claiming that the M9 (or Hima) will have a 5.0-inch 1080 x 1920 display, an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor with four cores clocked at 2.0GHz and four at 1.5GHz, 3GB of RAM, a 20.7 megapixel main camera and either a 13 megapixel or 4 UltraPixel front-facing snapper, along with a 2840 mAh battery, Android 5.0 Lollipop, HTC’s Sense 7.0 interface and Cat.6 LTE support.

That would fit with the earlier rumours of a 13 megapixel camera, it would just mean that’s the secondary snapper rather than the main one. @upleaks has re-iterated these specs a couple of times so it seems they’re pretty confident about them and other than the 1080p screen they’d make for a very impressive handset.

HTC One M9 Leaked Photo

But @upleaks might be wrong about the screen. Not only does the 1080p claim go against earlier QHD rumours, but recently Nowhereelse.fr got hold of images of what it’s claiming is the Hima’s display and states that it’s actually 5.2 inches.

The site doesn’t say whether it’s 1080p or QHD, but if @upleaks is wrong about the size they could be wrong about the resolution as well. Whatever the case it’s looking like the HTC Hima is going to be an incredibly well specced phone.

One slightly more worrying rumour is that the HTC Hima could have a MediaTek processor rather than a Qualcomm one. That’s according to China Times, which reckons that at least some regions will get a top-end MediaTek chip instead of a Snapdragon 810 one.

While that should still deliver good performance it’s unlikely to match up to the Snapdragon 810, though it may keep costs down. However we’re hopeful that if this is the case it will be a regional variant for China and other developing markets, while the UK and most western markets will hopefully get a Snapdragon version.

It’s also possible that the HTC Hima will get some spinoffs, with @upleaks claiming that an HTC Hima Ultra and HTC Hima Ace are on the way. We’d hazard a guess that the Ultra is a phablet device designed to replace the aging HTC One Max, while the HTC Hima Ace will probably be a mid-range phone, possibly designed to replace the HTC One Mini 2.

Design

Nothing is known for certain about the design of the HTC One M9. However in all likelihood it will be similar to that of the HTC One M8, just further refined, perhaps with a slimmer and ever more metal build.

There’s also a chance that the HTC One M9 will have a waterproof body. Many competing devices do and Stuff claims to have heard that it might. 

The material it’s built from might be changing too, as MyDrivers reports that it will be built from an aluminium silicon-carbide composite. 

There’s always an outside chance that HTC will drastically change the design, especially as the company’s head of design has announced that he’s leaving according to The Verge. He was the man behind the One’s iconic design so there’s a chance that his successor will take things in a different direction. Though if that happens it probably won’t be until the HTC One M10.

Whatever the design it seems like the colours might at least be the same as the HTC One M8, with @upleaks claiming the Hima will come in silver, gold and grey. The tipster also revealed the possible dimensions of the device, claiming that it will come in at 144.3 x 69.4 x 9.56mm, making it almost exactly the same size as the HTC One M8.

Until we know more you could do worse than checking out the concept designs below to see how other’s envisage HTC’s new flagship.

Concepts

The concept design feature in the video above, by the prolific Hasam Kaymak, is probably the best HTC One M9 concept that's been produced so far. 

More recently Ashik Empro has put together a concept (pictured below), which seems to sport even less plastic than the HTC One M8. It also seems to remove the black bar from beneath the screen, which is a welcome change.

HTC One M9 Concept by Ashik Empro

That aside it’s a fairly conservative design, which largely mirrors HTC’s current flagship, but that’s okay because the One M8 is still one of the best looking phones around.

Then there’s this from Jermaine at AndroidJS. Again it’s fairly close to the HTC One M8 and if anything even plainer, but it looks to have been slimmed down while the bezels have been minimised.

HTC One M9

Price

It’s not known what the HTC One M9 will cost, but it’s going to be a flagship phone and will therefore be very expensive. The HTC One started at around £500, while the HTC One M8 retailed for around £550 at launch, so the HTC One M9 will probably be in the £500-£600 range, likely closer to £600 if anything.

This article is being constantly updated as more news and rumours surface.

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