2015 HTC One M9 rumor round-up: specs, features, price, release date and all we know so far


Nearly four years after going to the peak of success with its Android smartphones, HTC has crashed to the bottom with declining revenues, barely able to squeeze a profit. In the past year, the company has lost key executives, failed to manufacture an appealing, competitive smartphone for the Holiday shopping season, and seems to be putting all bets on 2015.

And it's betting big: this year, HTC will update its One series, and it might even reveal not one, but two new flagship smartphones in a move similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Some speculate that the company will lift the cover off a regular-sized, 5" HTC One M9, and a phablet-sized, 5.5" HTC One M9 Plus.

HTC's One M9 2015 series of flagships is still facing an uphill battle for a number of reasons: Samsung seems to have finally taken note that design is important and will rival HTC in its core strength area, and then, there is the rise of Chinese smartphones that HTC simply cannot match in value for the money. However, this time HTC seems to have ditched all the gimmicks and go all in this battle.

It's time for some radical changes.


Design: the best Android design, refined


One thing most analysts would agree on is that HTC has one of the best (if not the best) designs with the 2014 One (M8). Luckily, the company is not likely to change much of that successful formula and is expected to stick with an aluminum unibdoy and an even more refined, premium feel for the HTC One M9 series.

The latest credible leaks (above) show the familiar dual-chin design, and overall a very similar visual aesthetics for the handset. The company is expected to introduce a new dual-color approach with at least one model coming with it: a silver back and a splash of gold on the sides, all in a brushed aluminum unibody frame. 

Bad news is that early leaks claim that all of this will come in a slightly thicker body measuring 0.37 inches (9.64mm) at its thickest. Keep in mind that the back of the phones is curved, so the thickness will be much less at the edges.


Display: a 5" screen, and a 5.5" one for a rumored HTC phablet


Samsung started it, and Apple approved: there is a clear distinction between a phablet and smaller-sized devices, and that division seems to revolve around 4.7" to 5" screen size for regular smartphones, and north of 5.5" for phablets. So far, rumors agree that HTC has adopted the same strategy as the HTC One M9 is said to feature a 5" display with a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution, while the rumored One M9 Plus will allegedly feature a 5.5" screen with a Quad HD (1440 x 2560-pixel) resolution.

Equipping the HTC One (M9) with a 5-inch 1080 x 1920-pixel (Full HD) display would be a very sane decision, as the pixel density of such a display will still be way above the very sweet 400ppi spot, while not consuming too much power.

In terms of color reproduction, we do expect some improvements from the M8 - a less bluish, more color accurate screen on the M9 would be a welcome change from the oversaturated display on its predecessor. You'd also be able to use the phone with gloves via a new 'glove mode'.

Stereo speakers are here to stay


If there is one area where HTC is holding the undisputed lead among smartphone makers, then this area is the quality of sound. The M7 debuted with dual, front-firing Beats speakers, the M8 improved on the successful formula with even larger, .85cc speakers for a more corpulent sound output. Luckily, the first leaked images of the alleged HTC One M9 show that HTC will keep its industry-leading speakers. For the One M9, earlier rumors have pointed out that HTC might collaborate with non other than Bose. We have note seen much substantial evidence for this, though, so we're inclined to think it will be just a pair of good front-firing speakers with no branding other than HTC's.

Interface: big changes in Sense 7, fresh coat of Android 5.0 Lollipop paint


The HTC Sense skin has evolved to be one of the leanest Android custom user interfaces, but it has its own, distinct look, and we’re curious to see how will it look in the context of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Naturally, Lollipop is the minimum accepted Android version for the M9.

The new Sense 7 is expected to make better use of Blinkfeed as it will allegedly borrow familiar elements from Google Now and Windows’ Live Tiles. This new Blinkfeed is expected to offer a more personalized experience, with recommendations for content, places to visit and reminders for appointments. HTC is also said to be "working on new partnerships" to improve the Blinkfeed experience (expect more content in BlinkFeed).

In addition, many features that we saw in the HTC Desire EYE will make their way to the new M9: things like dual-camera capture (using the front and rear cameras simultaneously), crops of images into other images and so on. The smart Skype camera tricks will also be on board: if you have a conference call and many people behind the camera, the faces of each one will be separated and put in individual containers, so that you get the effect of every person speaking separately to the camera. We have also seen some awesome new image editing capabilities coming to the stock HTC gallery app.

Performance: Snapdragon 810 likely, luckily


Early rumors have surprisingly claimed that HTC is mulling using the 32-bit, quad-core Snapdragon 805 system chip of H2 2014 devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Google Nexus 6. It is also said to sport 3GB of RAM.

Luckily, the latest talk mentions that HTC will not shoot itself in the foot when it comes to performance, and chances are that the One (M9) and (M9) Plus will - after all - run on the 64-bit Snapdragon 810.

Qualcomm is said to be having some problems with the chip overheating and Samsung is said to have ditched the 810 in the Galaxy S6 in favor of its own Exynos solution, so this will put HTC in a fairly unique position where it has the only mainstream flagship from a first-tier brand that runs on Snapdragon 810. How is HTC able to deal with the overheating issues of the Snapdragon 810, while Samsung cannot? The answer could have something to do with the metal unibody of the M9, and the better heat management properties of aluminum.

Camera: UltraPixel dream shattered by reality, 20-megapixel camera instead



The UltraPixel camera in the original HTC One was a wild bet against the megapixel race that was starting to heat up, but HTC’s decision to use just a 4-megapixel camera ended up in images lacking detail and just not as good as those from other competing cameras. Then, HTC repeated the mistake with the One (M8), which also used an UltraPixel camera while adding a secondary camera sensor for DSLR-like, bokeh effect to images.

In 2015, HTC seems to have reconsidered its position about UltraPixels, and both the One (M9) and (M9) Plus are expected to come with a 20-megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization. Consider this change nearly certain, as even Bloomberg with its impeccable track record has confirmed the camera resolution. 

Just recently, respected HTC developer and insider LlabTooFer revealed that expectations are that this would be a large 1/2.4" sensor (bigger than the sensor on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Apple iPhone 6, yet smaller than the one on the Sony Xperia Z3). This works out to pixel size of 1.12 micron, a size that is common on most Android flagships, but often criticized for being too small for certain conditions where a larger pixel could contribute to a better low-light performance. And while most flagship devices nowadays use a Sony sensor of one kind or another, the HTC One (M9) is said to come with a Toshiba-made camera sensor. There's also no secondary rear camera that played the role of an additional sensor contributing to a bokeh-effect (but which we honestly won't miss much).

When it comes to the front camera, though, UltraPixel lives on. Rumors are that HTC will transfer the 4-megapixel shooter to the front of the device, so you can capture some good-looking selfies even in very low light.

Storage and Connectivity: 32GB on board, expandable


The HTC One (M9) and (M9) Plus are rumored to come with plentiful on-board storage - the basic version is said to have 32GB of internal storage. A 64GB and even a massive 128GB versions are also in the plans.

Luckily, microSD cards are still expected to be supported on the M9, so that you can plug in your own card of up to 128GB and expand the built-in storage.

In terms of connectivity, we don’t expect any huge surprises - 4G LTE will naturally be supported with compatible bands for different markets, as well as dual-channel Wi-Fi, and other, pretty much standard connectivity features.

Battery life: 2840mAh


The big benefit of having a thicker phone is that phone makers can cram in bigger batteries inside those devices. The One (M9), in particular, is expected to come with a large, 2840mAh battery. These are early-stage rumors and the final capacity might change, but what does seem certain is that a number around this one would allow the phone to easily last a full day, even under heavier use. We have no hard numbers for the battery capacity of the One (M9) Plus, but we do expect it to last even longer than its 5" sibling.

HTC One (M9) and (M9) Plus: release date, price, and carriers


So when will you be able to buy the new HTC flagships? We do expect the HTC One (M9) release date to happen in early spring of 2015, with a prior official unveiling at Mobile World Congress 2015 on March 1st.

The One (M9) price is likely to remain the same $199.99 on a two-year contract and $650 when you buy it with no carrier ties. The One (M9) Plus price, on the other hand, is expected to start at $299.99 on equal, two-year contract terms.

HTC has a long and prosperous relationship with US carriers and the One (M9) as well as One (M9) Plus are expected to come to Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States, as well as to many more carriers across the globe.

Related phones

One M9
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 4 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2840 mAh(21.7h 3G talk time)

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50 Comments

1. Tritinum

Posts: 471; Member since: May 06, 2014

Fix the cam, instant buy!

2. SaintHelena

Posts: 397; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

So true!!! The ULTRA PIXEL is LAME!! (unless it's 20MP Ultra Pixel - made from 120 MP camera)

35. omar300

Posts: 210; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

thats too low man! 121 MP! right? /s

29. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

If they fix the cam now, I'll be the first one pre-order it right now lol

41. MySchizoBuddy

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

thanks i'll tell HTC they have ONE buyer.

42. Industriality

Posts: 131; Member since: Sep 08, 2014

I have a M7 for nearly 2 years, totally satisfied except the camera... This phone is gorgeous, build quality is top notch, strong as f**k, mine as been dropped on concrete floor countless times, sure it has scrarches but the screen is clean without a crack. Audio output (minijack) is great with one of best loundess on market. Sense 6.0 is a pleasure, light and with great design. Wanted to change my phone for christmas, couldn't find somehting matching my needs (except M8 but too big for me), samsgun is "meh" (touchwizz is a pain), iPhone OS is really behind Android now (my wife as an iPhone 5c, I can't get used to, too much "taps" to do simple things) and Sony Z series is bloated with shiity sofware and plague by a disgusting UI. Well, I'm really hopeing M9 will be great and in fact I hope S6 will be too, so I'll have choice next springtime :) Praise HTC ! Last premium Android phone standing !

45. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

im really happy because all those htc m9/hima's leaks are just a test decoy from htc to conceal the real front design of the m9..guys be ready..the king is coming this 2015!

49. MahmoudHamsharii

Posts: 70; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Sorry guys, but do anyone have an information about will the black htc bar gonna disapper or not?, basicly I hate it and I can see it in the golden m9 and its really bather me.

3. m3taz

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 16, 2013

QHD screens are useless on phones

4. rj_78

Posts: 74; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Thats so true but normal consumer don't understand that. They think more resolution means better display than others.

5. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Right? I'll take 1080p and better battery life thanks

7. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

And yet we're likely to see all the big names flock to it anyway. Progress is progress, even if it's a waste of resources. As long as CPU/GPU/battery keeps up, I can't fault them for wanting to outdo themselves and the competition. That's the industry for you.

11. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Exactly can't stop evolution. If you do the whole industry dies.

25. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The reason you have a 1080p screen is that someone put one in a phone when the standard was 720p. Tech evolves, gets better over time. Saying we don't need better hardware is like Bill Gates saying we will only need 640K RAM.

28. jphillips63

Posts: 253; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Apple has proved this theory to be so untrue. More doesn't mean better.

33. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Lol the only thing Apple proved that they are greedy. The only reason s**t hardware works is because IOS is so closed. android and windows 8 needs the specs and I wouldn't have it any other way.

43. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

But Bill gates never said that, it's a hoax.

44. Elusivellama

Posts: 73; Member since: Aug 26, 2014

Point of diminishing returns. 440ppi on a 5" screen is extremely sharp as it is.

6. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

A phone with an actual premium design.. Bendgate? sure... if your the hulk....

8. Zuisudra

Posts: 5; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

"13 Mp" that's the keyword that can save HTC. Everything else they know better.

9. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Well, I'm not worried about 64 bit support. I think it will be another year or two before this really becomes a relevant issue. I love my HTC one M8 and will be getting the M9. Solid well built phones are hard to come by these days

19. Rager722 unregistered

I'm sure they'll get 64 bit support since HTC made the first 64 bit equipped android phone

10. mojtaba_mn

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

always best htc great m8 now will perfect lovr htc design and quality uni body

12. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Rarely do I find an OEM that seems to genuinely care about exterior toughness. Higher UTS doesn't actually reveal much but yield strength (the real resistance to #bendgate) should be better :)

13. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

This article nails my concern in the SoC section. Even if it is a great processor, if they rush the M9 to try to get ahead of Samsung, LG, etc by using the 805, they'll be shooting themselves in the foot. Within a couple of months, the 810-equipped competition will render it "last year's hardware." And when has the first out of the gate strategy worked for them on the past anyhow? Focus on having a better design, audio, camera, UI. Let the product sell itself.

16. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I doubt it's a first to release type thing. I think they just want to save money. They are switching their mid range to mediatek so I wouldn't be surprised if they would save in the CPU. The GS4 had ddr3 ram and M7 swapped it for ddr2 just to save money despite the SD600 having DDR3 out of the box. They are probably using the same philosophy as Apple. 1080p is enough 1 gb of ram is enough Ddr2 ram us fast enough SD805 is good enough Mediatek is good enough. It's the Apple profits outweigh all else mantra as long as performance is good. Hey, I am an opposer to that philosophy but that is apparently what people want if Apple is to go by. Make the lightest operating system as possible and make the most profits as possible. If HTC can sell a SD805 device at SD810 prices, I'd okay it if I was on the board of directors. That's the tricky thing though, unless your Apple, this could backfire if you are anyone else.

18. DocOc78

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

Apples approach works because in reality, those specs ARE enough. The average person doesn't care about processors, 32 v. 64 bit, and RAM. As long as it looks good and then can check Facebook and email and GPS, they're happy. The reality is that the SD805 is still a very good chip. The added functionality of the 810 is very marginal and will only be realized by a select few. You are right though that Apple is in a much better position to pass along less than cutting edge technology because of their cult following.

20. Joshua9007

Posts: 94; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

Your last sentence sums it up, Apple never had to play the traditional spec games because the control everything about their product and deliver the experience... their customers do not care about the specs because for their phones, it does not matter. In general this might work for an android manufacturer, but I know from the way phones are sold that the specs are directly compared and why would someone buy a phone for 2 years if there is a another phone they perceive to be better longer. I personally would rather see the new M9 have a slightly smaller screen around 5.2" as long as they could minimize the bezel and fit it into the same body as last year. 1080p is fine for that size and as long as it is very accurate, I don't see many people who would complain. They need to do away with the HTC below the screen, and maybe design it into the dots of the speakers, and make them slightly louder. I don't care if it is bose or harman (who they already partnered with for a sprint exclusive) Just give us a few extra decibels of great sounding volume so that I can show a youtube video to friends and they can hear it in a noisy room. The camera obviously needs to be larger than 4MP, (8-20mp as long as it works well) although if they were able to still design it with "ultra pixels" or duel camera, I wouldn't be upset as I like good low light photos. Now I would rather see a 64 bit operating system as it would really showcase the performance of lollipop and be the most future proof, but the 805 chip is not a slouch and since HTC sense doesn't lag as much as touch-wiz, it should be a snappy performer. Again, with how HTC's software is, 2GB of ram should be sufficient... but 3 would really make it future proof. The only thing that I could see as a really valuable addition would be a finger print scanner, and although it is not necessary, if they are going to position themselves as PREMIUM Android and try to compete with Apple, having it would really make it compelling for someone who is on the fence.

22. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Bringing Mediatek into the argument, you're confusing the issue. They can get away with that in the midrange, but not in a flagship. It's all about specs with Android. The 2013 Moto X was the exception that proves the rule. I don't think this is a cost cutting issue at all. If the M9 really is coming soon with an 805, then that can't be their 2015 flagship. I think the 810 will be significantly faster than be 805 because it's a new CPU and GPU. They can't let the One series fall behind unless they have something even better in the pipeline. HTC needs a hero phone, and they need it soon. But the only way I can see this working long term is if an M10 arrives next summer packing an 810, just like the big boys.

14. toyboyz

Posts: 235; Member since: Jan 22, 2010

5.5 inch baby! Make me or break me! And that screen better be! SCREEN...! Not bezel. :/ Please don't force me to go Samsung again. You wont like me when I get angry. Lol!

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