HTC has unveiled its newest smartphone, the HTC U Ultra, a Nougat-powered smartphone that comes with integrated AI, USB-C, a bumper camera but no headphone jack.
The HTC U Ultra is a far departure from the metal-clad HTC 10 before it, although the firm is keen to stress that the U Ultra is not the 'flagship' of its portfolio, a big hint that another reveal at MWC next month could be on the cards.
The harsh aluminium chassis of the HTC 10 has gone, with the U Ultra sporting a curved glass structure with "liquid surface", which means it looks like water. Or something.
This chassis, which doesn't offer any added protection like the Galaxy S7, houses a 5.7in QHD Super LCD screen while a secondary 2in display sits on top of this, which HTC touts a "little screen for important stuff".
This 'Dual Display' will show you information such as reminders, event notifications and favourite contacts, with HTC's new AI smarts even helping you rank those that you speak to most frequently.
HTC's AI (which the firm says stands for, in this case, 'accelerated intelligence') arrives in the form of an app dubbed HTC Sense Companion, does some other clever bits too. Trumping the likes of Apple's Siri, it'll nudge you to charge your phone if your commute is fast approaching, or remind you to turn off your alarm if it's a bank holiday, for example.
Voice recognition is another big focus of the U Ultra, with HTC boasting that the handset's quad-mic set-up is 'always listening', which means it will respond to your commands even if it's asleep.
Back to hardware and you'll find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor under the hood, backed up by a 3,000mAH battery, 4GB RAM and 64GB built-in storage. HTC will also release a special 'Sapphire Glass' limited edition model that'll up this to 128GB.
You'll find the same 12MP rear camera sensor as found on the HTC 10, but with the added bonus of built-in phase detection autofocus. HTC claims that, when paired with the onboard laser focus, it'll offer up sharper images and better night photography. Oddly, there's a higher-spec 16MP sensor on the front of the phone.
There's USB-C connectivity on the U Ultra, and following in the footsteps of the iPhone 7, HTC has made the controversial decision to ditch the 3.5mm jack. Instead, it'll shove its own HTC USonic in the box, earphones that analyse your inner ears with a sonar-like pulse, and then adapts to suit you.
The HTC U Ultra will arrive on shelves in Europe in mid-February, but HTC has yet to cough on pricing details. It will be available in four colours at launch: Brilliant Black, Ice White (pictured), Sapphire Blue and Pink.
The firm also on Thursday launched the HTC U Play, a lower-spec smartphone that looks near identical to its bigger brother. You'll find a smaller 5.2in Full HD display, an octa-core MediaTek P10 chip, dual 16MP cameras and a 2,500mAh battery.
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