Update: A new leak corroborates the front design of the A9, although the back makes it look a lot like the Huawei Nexus 6P. Image at the bottom of this post.
Having recently launched the iPhone-lookalike One A9, HTC looks set to release yet another One-series phone. A leaked press image on Weibo suggests that HTC will be releasing a new phone with BoomSound speakers in tow. The One X9 poster uses typically vague strap lines like ‘pursuit of brilliance’ and ‘packed with city smarts’, right in line with what we expect from most manufacturers. Given its in English (and assuming it’s genuine) it hints at a launch in English-speaking markets…
According to Steve from NWE, we’re supposedly meant to expect a 5-inch 2560×1440 display, Snapdragon 820 processor (or Helio X20) plus 4GB RAM. Allegedly, there’s a 23MP camera on the back, 4MP UltraPixel camera on the front, stereo BoomSound speakers and a 3,500mAh battery.
If those specifications are accurate — and I highly doubt they are — the One X9 will be the company’s next ‘proper’ (albeit small) flagship. Despite impressing early users, the One A9 doesn’t exactly match up to the likes of the Galaxy S6, Moto X Pure or Xperia Z5 in terms of pure performance and capabilities.
Judging from the design, it doesn’t look like it’ll be a flagship device, but it’s really hard to tell. There is always the chance that it’s not coming at all. Even fake leaks are getting harder to distinguish from the real ones these days. That’s without taking in to account that the rumored specifications sound a little too good to be true, following the launch of the One A9 hero smartphone. If the company wants to cannibalize sales of its own devices, this would be a sure-fire way to do it.
HTC’s position in the market is more insecure than it’s been in a long time. Despite building what many consider some of the best phones on the market, that opinion hasn’t translated to success with consumers. For instance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tech-head who doesn’t think the HTC One M series devices are brilliant, but you’ll be equally hard-pressed to find a regular consumer using one in public.
This lack of confidence from the general public has lead to something of a focus shift for the Taiwanese tech company. The recently announced One A9 signals the beginning of a new, more-fashionable era at HTC. It may look like the iPhone, and have an advertising campaign built on the same ideas as the famous 1984 Apple commercial, but it’s a step the company needed to make. Like Samsung with the S6 and Note 5 series, HTC needed to adapt and react to the changing market dynamic and push towards fashion, rather than pure performance and features. It’s hard then, to see where the X9 fits in. But if genuine, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.