What can we expect from HTC's next flagship? Based on fresh concept designs, rumors, and the specs of the HTC 10 and the recent HTC-built Google Pixel, we're seeing the possibilities for the HTC U (codenamed HTC Ocean, and sometimes called HTC 11) start to take shape. Leaks have revealed details on the phone's features, including the camera, audio and technical specs. Plus, HTC has revealed the official launch date and released a teaser video hinting at a sort of squeeze control.

HTC U price and release date
It was first thought that the HTC U would be presented late this month, but it will actually be next month when the curtain drops. The Verge received an invitation to an event on May 16, according to which the HTC U will be presented in New York, London and Taipei simultaneously. The event's tagline: "Squeeze for the Brilliant". This refers to a new concept that HTC has been trying out, which allows the user to squeeze the phone's sides to launch certain functions.

The price of this device is unknown. We'd expect it to cost upwards of $700 based on the HTC 10's price when it was released.

The HTC "Ocean" concept phone sizzle reel video below was posted by HTC Source on YouTube with the following disclaimer: "This video of the HTC Ocean does not feature an upcoming HTC device. The 'sizzle reel' created by Danelle Vermeulen merely shows how one might create a short video to show off the main features of a new device."

This surfaced concept video created by a visual and motion designer shows the HTC Ocean with a Sense Touch user interface, and no physical controls. It relies on gestures, touch, and voice: you'll find no buttons here.

The HTC Ocean (HTC U) looks a lot like the HTC 10, with a full metal unibody, and we can expect waterproofing for this device.

For the display, there may be several sizes since there are three codenames floating around for the HTC Ocean: Ocean Master, Ocean Note, and Ocean Smart. The HTC 10 had a 5.2-inch display, with 1,440 x 2,560 pixel resolution, which we may see again with the Ocean. There is no word yet on whether or not HTC will opt for an AMOLED display.

HTC U camera
In the concept video above, the HTC U features a comeback of the dual rear camera with LED flash. HTC tried out a dual camera setup with the HTC One M8's Duo Camera that had a 4 MP rear camera with a sensor just above it, but that was lackluster even when it was released way back in March 2014. The 2016 Huawei P9 featured two 12 MP Leica rear cameras and an 8 MP selfie camera in the front and is one of the best we've ever tested. If the HTC U will have a dual camera, we hope it will have similar specs to the Huawei P9.

A series of leaks have revealed that the HTC U will come with an Ultrapixel front-facing camera. Unfortunately, for the moment there aren't any details on the sensor's quality or anything about the rear-facing camera. The device will also be coming with a fully enhanced camera app, including some advanced HDR settings to promote better picture quality. These include HDR+, Smart Video Zoom, 3D Audio and Hi-Res Recording functions. The HDR+ will provide “Real-Time HDR scene detection” though it isn’t clear exactly how well this will work. Judging by the description it seems that users will be able to aim at a scene, and the HDR+ color reproduction will shift in the viewfinder in real time so you can see what the image will look like in HDR+ before you take the photo.

HTC U audio
The HTC U will come with four microphones for recordings, which will enable you to get the best possible audio quality for your videos. It will also include two different audio recording modes, 3D Audio and the Hi-Res Recording option. 3D Audio will be the default setting, and will add a surround sound effect to any recordings, while the Hi-Res mode will ensure there won’t be any quality degradation.

Also included is Multimedia BoomSound, which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise as this is HTC’s signature audio trait. That said, it looks like the device will use USB Type-C and won't be coming with a 3.5 mm audio port. As a result, you will need to use the USB Type-C analog headset that comes with the device. The phone also has dual speakers, so the sound quality for music even without the headset should be pretty decent.

The HTC U will also include HTC USonic, a new technology that allows users to configure a sound profile that is specifically for them. Users can plug in the USB Type-C analog headset, and then use HTC USonic to detect their unique ear canal to personalize an audio profile. Apparently, this should only take a few seconds so setting up should be easy, and USonic can even balance the different levels of ambient noise in the environment. The headset for the device will allow you to use the dual speakers.

HTC U processor, RAM, other
With regard to the specs, the latest leaks now reveal that the HTC U will be being released with Android 7.1 Nougat with the HTC Sense UI layered on top, and it will come powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Two variations will be available, so you will have a choice between a 64 GB option with 4 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB with 6 GB of RAM, though this could still be subject to change. It also isn’t clear if either version will be exclusive to a specific region. A 3,000 mAh battery will be included as well as Quick Charge 3.0 for fast charging. It will also support Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi, and it comes with a 5.5-inch WQHD screen protected by Gorilla Glass 5.

Recent leaks are also indicating that the HTC U will also include a feature called Sense Link, which will allow your smartphone to interact with your laptop or PC. By installing the HTC Sense Link PC client, users can easily transfer content between their phone and PC, see phone notifications on your PC, and access documents.

HTC U (aka HTC Ocean, HTC 11):  rumored specs
Technical specificatons HTC U
Type of device Smartphone
Battery > 3,000 mAh
Display size 5.5 inches
Display technology SuperLCD
Resolution 1,440 x 2,560 pixels
Front camera 8 MP
Rear camera 12 MP
Flash LED
Android version Android 7.1 Nougat
UI HTC Sense
RAM 4 to 8 GB
Internal memory 64 to 256 GB
Expandable memory MicroSD
Processor / SOC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core with Adreno 540 GPU
Clock speed 2.45 GHz
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, USB Type-C

HTC U software
The HTC U will launch with Android 7.0 Nougat, as the HTC 10 already has the update coming to it. There will likely continue to be a more stock-like experience with the new HTC flagship. The big difference will come from interacting with the phone using Sense Touch as featured in the video above, if it comes to pass. Relying more on voice and gestures than any phone prior will mean a major difference in user experience, a choice likely driven by the Google Assistant platform that HTC had experience with when making the Pixel.

Are you looking forward to seeing the latest HTC smartphone? What features do you hope to see HTC bring to the table? Let us know in the comments below.
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