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Circuit Breaker

HTC’s ‘surprise’ announcement is the sapphire edition U Ultra we already knew about

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It’s not the HTC 11

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HTC U Ultra and its second screen Vlad Savov

Last week, HTC’s Taiwan Facebook page posted a mysterious teaser image with the message that “HTC will give you an unexpected surprise.” While many (including The Verge) speculated that HTC might be spinning up its marketing campaign for a follow-up to its former flagship, the HTC 10, the reality is unfortunately little more pedestrian.

Instead, the “unexpected surprise” is that HTC will be launching a limited edition variant on the U Ultra with a sapphire glass screen and 128GB of storage — something we’ve known about since CES earlier this year, making it less of an unexpected surprise and more of a reminder that an expensive version of a phone that already makes some questionable design choices exists.

As noted by Android Central, the announcement does come with some new information, as HTC has put the limited edition version of the U Ultra up for preorder in Taiwan for NT$28,900 (roughly $946), a close to $200 premium over the standard version. Sapphire screens are still pretty rare on smartphones, and perhaps could have been enough of a distinguishing factor to make the U Ultra stand out if it had been included at the regular price point. But as it stands, for almost $950 dollars, there are plenty of competitors out there that offer more for less money.