HTC One M9 rumor round-up

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, HTC makes some dang good hardware – going back all the way to when the company manufactured PDAs running Windows Mobile. These days, HTC is going it on its own, responsible for the design, construction, marketing, deployment, and support of a wide and varied allotment of handsets powered by both Android and Windows Phone. The flagship leading the charge is the HTC One – currently the One (M8).

HTC generally announces its next-generation flagship at MWC. With MWC 2015 just around the corner, we all suspect that the One M9 will be announced at the March 1 HTC event. That’s still a few weeks away. Until then, what rumors have surfaced? Which are more realistic than the others? Let’s gather all our intel and drop it into an HTC One M9 rumor round-up!

Screen

one-m9-wallpaper-wideThe first thing you see when you pick up any smartphone is it’s screen. We’ve heard rumors of a 5.9-inch monster, not too dissimilar from that featured in the Nexus 6. We’ve also heard that it may be 5.5-inches. There has also been talk about a 5.2-inch screen, but I think that may be for a variation of the One M9, not the M9 proper (more on that in a moment). 5.5-inches seems to be the sweet spot these days, so my money is on this size as a “safe bet”.

Next comes resolution. Quad HD and 2K are all the rage, but thanks to a purportedly leaked wallpaper, the resolution is likely to be 1080p rather than the “sexier” but much more power-hungry 2K or quad HD.

Construction

HTC-One-M9-2015-Coque-Or-02HTC knows what works. It knows what feels good in-hand, and it knows how to put those two together. The One M9 is going to feature a metal chassis and an aluminum unibody. You can take take that to the bank. HTC’s not going to risk going with polycarbonate, Kevlar, or some other fancy material here. It’s going to be metal, and it will likely be aluminium (or, at the very least, it will look like aluminum).

OS

There’s no doubt that the HTC One M9 will run Android Lollipop (maybe even Android 5.1) topped with the latest iteration of Sense.

What about Windows? HTC really came through last Autumn when it released a Windows Phone variant of the One (M8). With Microsoft’s latest push toward unifying its OS and all the marketing that’s being put behind Windows 10, you can rest assured that we’ll see Windows 10 running on the One M9 at some point.

Rumors indicate that probably won’t be at the March 1 event, which makes sense. We didn’t see Windows Phone on the One (M8) until August last year, so we should expect a similar delay this time around. The Windows 10 push may accelerate this release, but it will take more than two weeks to see Windows 10 running on the One M9.

Dot View Case

HTC One M9 Dot View case frontI love flip covers. They do a great job protecting the screen, but they can get in the way and block what you’re trying to see.

Samsung and LG both have cases with “portholes” in them, but HTC has Dot View. Reportedly to save battery life by only lighting a small number of pixels (relatively speaking), the Dot View case shows very low resolution text and images, but still allows you to interact with the screen through the case – while it’s closed! That concept is nothing short of amazing and I wish more OEMs would follow suit.

Based on rumors that we’ve seen circulating, HTC’s Dot View case isn’t going away anytime soon and will be back for an encore with the HTC One M9.

Speakers

HTC is one of the few OEMs that understands the painfully obvious concept that sound from your phone should come from the front – just like the pictures on the screen are displayed on the front. Additionally, HTC is famous for BoomSound.

The HTC One M9 will continue in that trend. Beautiful sound from dual, front-facing speakers. If rumors are to be believed, and I certainly hope they can be, the One M9 won’t have machined speaker grilles. Instead it will feature “notches” at the top and bottom of the phone that will all but disappear into the glass.

This will take away from HTC trademark BoomSound grills, but I think it’s a welcome change.

Wireless

Smartphones and tablets aren’t much fun or useful without a fast, reliable connection to the ‘net. We’re hearing that inside the One M9 will be a BCM4356 wireless module. This chip sports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with both 2.4 and 5 GHz, and includes Bluetooth 4.1.

Naming

one-m9-pd-1Last year we saw the HTC One (M8), with the “M8” noted parenthetically. This time around it looks like HTC will ditch the parenthesis and embrace the One M9 name completely.

However, we’ve heard of two devices, the One M9 and One M9 Plus. How these two devices differ could be plain and simple, but it could also be somewhat “interesting”.

We all know how Apple’s naming for the iPhone 6 went: the base model was just the “6” with the bigger one called the “6 Plus”. Based on the rumors we’ve been hearing, the HTC One M9 will be the equivalent of the One M8, just with this year’s flagship specs. The One M9 Plus, on the other hand, will likely be smaller (that’s where that 5.2-inch screen comes in), and will gain the “Plus” designation with increased specs.

Which specs, you ask? The One M9 will probably be powered by a Snapdragon 810 SoC, and the “Plus” version could be driven by a MediaTek chip. MediaTek is making some pretty impressive hardware, and a true octacore CPU powering a small device could be just what HTC needs to call the “smaller” variant “Plus”.

Camera

HTC One M9HTC has been playing around with cameras for some time now. We’ve seen UltraPixels that perform well in low-light scenarios on previous devices, and oodles of traditional megapixels on the Desire 816 and other phoens. The rumors of what the One M9 will include have been a bit muddied with many indicating the M9 will have dual rear cameras. I suspect this will be a 20.7MP main camera and a 2.1MP depth-measuring optic to help with auto-focus. Also, the front-facer may follow in the footsteps of the Desire 816 by including another high-end camera up front, with rumors pointing to 20+ MP.

We’ve also seen more than our fair share of “squircles”, rounded squares, reminiscent of the navigation button on Microsoft’s failed Zune media player. This could be another point of divergence between the “One M9” and “One M9 Plus”. We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.

Your Turn

Based on everything that I’ve seen come across the innertubez, that’s what I think the HTC One M9 is going to be. What about you? Have you heard a rumor that I didn’t include? Do you think I’m wrong in one area or another? What do you think HTC will show us at MWC? Head down to the comments and let us know!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.