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HTC Ocean: What we know so far

02 February 2017 5

HTC 10 is almost a year older, now all eyes are on HTC’s next flagship smartphone. Everyone is expecting something big from the company as the last year flagship smartphone didn’t work pretty well and unfortunately didn’t turn the tables for the company.

HTC already started this year with pretty superbly by the unveiling couple of new smartphones. As expected one of the devices is packed with high-end specs whereas the second device is the mid-ranger smartphone. The top of the line smartphone is dubbed as HTC U Ultra (click here for the announcement), whereas the mid-range variant is unveiled as HTC U-Play. Although the U Ultra smartphone is featuring top-notch hardware but still HTC confirms this device is not the flagship smartphone from HTC for this year but instead they will be releasing a true flagship with more high-end specs later in the year.

After the HTC’s top end smartphone announcement, everyone is keen to know about what Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer is cooking inside. For sure the end result seems much better than last year flagship smartphone. So today we will take a close look at all details regarding HTC’s upcoming flagship smartphone. As per so far rumors and details, it could be unveiled as HTC Ocean. So let’s start with the naming scheme for the HTC’s 2017 flagship.

HTC Ocean: Naming scheme

HTC Ocean name first appear when we have a promo video in which an HTC smartphone is shown being controlled with voice, and gestures instead of physical keys. Well-known leaker Evan Blass was the first one to share info about Ocean flagship smartphone. A single rumor could easily be dismissed but another reliable HTC source @LlabTooFer shared more info regarding HTC’s first half smartphones of 2017. As per their info, there are three smartphones HTC was working internally.

First one was Ocean Note which HTC announced in H1 Jan as HTC U Ultra, whereas the HTC U-Play was internally codenamed as Alpine. In Ocean series as per @LlanTooFer, there are two more smartphones including one of them is known as HTC Ocean which will be the flagship smartphone, there was HTC Ocean Master which company canceled due to unknown reasons.

Recently HTC’s president of smartphone business confirmed Engadget that there is not a single smartphone from the company for this year as HTC 11, which means aforementioned tips are accurate and spot on.

Sense Touch Navigation

It is important to mention that promo video was the website of Danelle Vermeulen. In the leaked video HTC’s Sense Touch UI was highlighted and later on it was revealed that Vermeulen is motion and visual designer. Although it was referred that device appeared in the video was a concept but for sure it raises doubt.

The video suggests that device edges are touch-sensitive that’s why it can be controlled via touch around edges as well as it can be controlled using voice.


In a recent video again Sense Touch UI appears, this time the video was way more professional and the time on Display was 10:08 and all HTC fans already know that it’s the company signature timings on the display. In this video apps are scrolled down by touching edges, now it is still unclear whether it was done using edges or HTC embedded a dedicated button over there.

In terms of design, the device looks much similar to HTC One A9 that’s why one thing is sure the company used a dummy device to showcase the feature but the final device design is still intact.

Design

HTC is one those smartphone manufacturers who like to use metal chassis and one of the companies who were first in the market to release flagship smartphone with metal chassis. So for sure, we can expect 2017 flagship will also have a metal chassis Unibody design. Recently HTC unveils 10 Evo with IP57 certification which indicates the company’s plan of unveiling flagship smartphone with IP68 certification.

Following Cupertino giant’s footstep HTC removed 3.5mm headphone jack from HTC U Ultra and U-Play, so for sure making the device more water and dust resistant the company will be removing the headphone jack in bringing IP68 certification.

Surprisingly so far we have not an authentic leaked photo of the HTC Ocean. So we can’t claim about the design as a reliable image of the handset is yet to appear online. However, we can expect it will be spotted in next few weeks.

Hardware specs

We have to admit that hardware specs are one area where HTC flagships usually lack behind but it seems like that won’t be the case this year as HTC delayed the release of flagship for quite some time and we have a good reason for it.

The company’s latest top of the line U Ultra is packed with Snapdragon 821 Soc and company already stated the upcoming device will be a better device which means for sure it will have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 Soc. This reason is further confirmed when we have info that LG G6 will miss the Snapdragon 835 Soc and the reason behind it is Samsung who already purchased all the production stock of SD 835 till April. In a recent interview, HTC’s head of devices Chialan Chang was asked about the release of next flagship, he stated: "When the next flagship CPU comes, HTC will be one of the very first tiers doing that." This also indicates the SD 835 will be powering the HTC’s flagship under the hood.

In terms of RAM, as most flagships in the market have 4GB RAM and even the U Ultra has 4GB RAM, which means we can expect 6GB RAM from HTC Ocean with 64GB on board as internal storage. The bump in hardware will surely help the company to compete well against flagships expected in the middle of 2017, especially the Galaxy S8 and OnePlus 5.

This year HTC’s flagship is expected to be Google Daydream VR compatible that’s why it boost in RAM is must make sure its performance won’t be affected during VR usage. HTC will also switch to USB Type-C port for connectivity. Another heavily rumored feature of HTC Ocean will be Boom Sound Hi-fi version which will be accompanied with equally good USB Type-C headphones.

HTC Ocean will also be packed with the fingerprint scanner on the front facing side, though there are reports this year scanner is embedded under the glass. The Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is also expected to have glass embedded fingerprint scanner.

Display

Last year with flagship HTC 10, the company adopted quad HD 5.2-inch LCD display. However, for this year the chances are very bright for an AMOLED display because HTC’s One A9 and the Pixel lineup devices are packed with AMOLED display.

A few days ago, we do have the report suggesting that HTC Ocean display will be of 5.5-inch with as screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, which means it will have the similar display like Pixel XL but what makes it special is its dual curved edges similar to Galaxy S7 Edge.

If this rumor is accurate it does make sense as the alleged Sense Touch UI video indicates the edges are being used for multiple tasks which mean HTC could enter the arena of curved edge display. As currently, the HTC U Ultra is a Phablet smartphone with 5.7-inch display whereas the mid-ranger U Ultra is featuring the 5.2-inch display. So a true flagship with 5.5-inch display makes sense and pretty much possible. In order to be Daydream certified smartphone, the company does require to bring OLED display and for sure AMOLED is the only chance for HTC rather than traditional LCD display.

User Interface

One thing which is confirmed that HTC’s flagship will be pre-installed with Android Nougat. Last year when HTC 10 was announced, it was featuring a light version of customized layer over stock Android OS, the company relied heavily on stock Android apps which helped them to remove bloatware. Similar kind of approach we have seen for the recently announced U Ultra and U-Play.

Another surprising info surfacing online suggests that device is featuring Google Assistant in its fullest form. As we mentioned earlier the video leaked recently also shows the device is being controlled using Artificial Assistant and it could be Google’s Assistant. A blend of Google Assistant and HTC Sense UI could become a good end product app dedicated to performing user’s tasks using voice commands. Although we can’t confirm up to what extent HTC will be able to make their dream come true but one thing is confirmed indeed the company is working on the AI-powered personal assistant.

Cameras

HTC’s track record is not pretty great as far as camera sensors are the concern, the company flagships are never known for being the top option for camera lovers but instead, the company is trying different approaches from past few years. In the leaked video, we have seen HTC’s alleged flagship is featuring dual rear camera snapper.

Back in 2014, the company tested dual camera setup on the flagship One M8 but the experiment didn’t pay off well but recently Apple unveils flagship phablet iPhone 7 Plus with dual-rear camera setup and it is loved by everyone. However, despite all of this, we don’t think dual rear cameras are next big thing in the smartphone industry. On the other hand, the camera sensors on Pixel lineup devices performed extra-ordinary that’s why there are fair chances the company might adopt similar sensors for their flagship lineup.

This means the HTC Ocean rear camera snapper might be 12MP while the front facing camera module is 8MP. HTC packed the top tier U-lineup device with 16MP Ultra Pixel front facing selfie cameras.

Release date

At the moment, accurate info regarding HTC Ocean announcement is still in dark but HTC officially confirms a couple of days ago that next flagship announcement won’t be at MWC 2017 but instead, it will be a special dedicated event in which the device will be unveiled.

If we take a look at HTC’s tradition, last year the company releases the flagship HTC 10 on April 12th, before that M9 was announced on first of March and M8 was unveiled on March 25th. The 2013th flagship One M7 announced at MWC 2013 on Feb 13th.

It indicates the company adopts first two-quarter to launch their flagships, same will be the case for this year flagship as well as the company smartphones division president Chialin Chang stated that delay in the release of the new flagship is because HTC has to wait for availability of right components.

Conclusion:

I am sure if you are planning to grab HTC’s flagship smartphone, you will have to wait a bit longer than usual. From the look of things, it seems like HTC is going to wait for availability of Snapdragon 835 Processor which is not possible before April 2017.

Although HTC flagships track record is not much extraordinary but this year it looks like company geared up to bring some much-needed changes not only in design department but also in hardware and software department as well. LG’s flagship G6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 surely will be available ahead of HTC’s flagship announcement.


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  • HTC Ocean will have SD 835? Oh dear, then if that's the case, then the flagship itself will be delayed more than April, as I don't think the processors will be available before that.

      • Speaking about the camera, HTC isn't a brand known for its cameras anytime. So, I doubt how this phone will perform in that stead. Having just 12MP camera won't be enough.

          • What's the "Access Anything" in the video? Is it any new feature in the Ocean? What I have heard so far is the Instant Apps kind of things for quick access. This one looks parallel in nature.

            • It's great to read the naming schemes for the HTC Ocean. I was only aware of this particular name. But the LlabTooFeR's tweet revealed pretty much everything there.

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