Preview materials for the HTC U, currently code named Ocean, have leaked online courtesy of Android Headlines.
They give us our best look yet at what to expect from HTC's 201 flagship device, including some innovative new gesture-controlled features that build upon previously rumoured details.
Chief among those new features is something called 'Edge Sensors'. We've already seen rumours suggesting the HTC Ocean would have touch-sensitive zones around the outside, but the preview materials by suggesting you will be able to squeeze the sides of the phone with varying amounts of pressure to carry out certain functions.
It's suggested a short squeeze of the sides while the phone is sleeping and the display is off would enable certain gestures, while a long press will activate others. Android Headlines says gestures can include opening the camera, launching Google Assistant, launching HTC Sense Companion or even activate a Wi-Fi hotspot.
HTC has also appeared to add three different levels of sensitivity, to help make sure you don't activate certain functions without meaning to.
Details surrounding the camera on the HTC U "Ocean" have been few and far between up until now. However, both Weibo and Venture Beat have suggested it will come with the same, or similar cameras as the Google Pixel, also made by HTC. That would mean a 12-megapixel rear camera and 16MP front-facing with UltraPixels.
The preview materials don't actually refer to megapixels, but instead refer to various features that should result in good quality photos. The HTC U is said to come with HDR+, with real-time live preview functionality. That means you'll be able to see what your photo will look like, before you press the shutter button.
3D audio recording will also be possible thanks to four microphones placed around the device, and this will be the default option when taking videos. A second, high-resolution audio mode has also been teased, which claims to "bring a full range of lossless sound to the recording".
HTC's BoomSound speakers should make a return to deliver high-quality audio output from front-facing speakers, but the 3.5mm headphone port looks set to get the axe, in favour of USB Type-C audio instead. HTC will supply the U with its own USB-C headset.
To make sure you get the best possible sound from that headset, HTC has implemented a feature called HTC USonic, that claims to measure your specific ear canal in a matter of seconds, and adjust the audio accordingly. The USonic feature should also adjust to filter out any background ambient noise, for specific situations, such as commuting to work. And because it only takes a few seconds to adjust, you can easily go from one profile at home, to a different one on-the-go.
It also looks like the HTC U could follow a similar path as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and offer some PC functionality thanks to a feature called HTC Sense Link PC Client. It suggests you'll be able to copy and paste content between the phone and your PC or laptop, as well as view notifications, although it doesn't say if you'll be able to interact with them from your computer.
Elsewhere, specs are said be Android Nougat 7.1 out-the-box, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 64GB storage with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage with 6GB RAM. The 3,000mAh battery should come with Quick Charge 3.0 technology and the 5.5-inch WQHD display will have a Gorilla Glass 5 coating.
On paper, then, the HTC U is shaping up to be a highly capable device with some interesting features. We're still no closer to knowing when it will be released though, although recent rumours are suggesting an April reveal for a May release.
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