HTC’s smartphone division isn’t dead yet. Freshly tweeted this morning, we now have a launch date for HTC’s next major Android release, which is almost certain to be the HTC U12 that has already made a couple of early appearances. Images ahead of the launch have suggested the U12 won’t have a notch, marking a break with the majority of Android flagships this year, and The Verge has confirmed that to be the case with people familiar with HTC’s plans.
The tagline for this new Android flagship is “a phone that is more than the sum of its specs,” hinting at an effort from HTC to distinguish itself in ways other than the usual chase for the latest and greatest hardware components. Assuming the exploded view of components in the teaser image is showing parts of the upcoming phone, we can piece together a few of the specs, such as a dual-camera system for the back and, seemingly, another one for the front. This agrees with an image obtained by serial leaker Evan Blass back in March. The presumed U12 also appears to hold a card tray for microSD storage expansion, but it’s showing no signs of a headphone jack, which is a feature HTC abandoned early last year.
It’s curious to see HTC persisting with its smartphone range even after selling off the majority of its phone business to Google. Then again, phone designs take years to realize and it’s reasonable to interpret this upcoming launch (and any other that might follow later this year) as merely the completion of projects that were already in the pipeline when the deal to sell to Google was agreed. Coming a week after the launch of the OnePlus 6, HTC’s next flagship will face fierce competition from an Android market that’s already been almost entirely refreshed with 2018 models.