HTC 11 release date, news and rumors

HTC is turning it up to 11

Update: An official HTC teaser points to a March 20 announcement date for the HTC 11, while evidence of a futuristic feature known as Sense Touch or Edge Sense continues to grow. Could this be the HTC 11's USP?

The HTC 10 was something of a reinvention for the brand, sporting a new design, new features and upgraded specs. But in some ways it's still not enough of a change, and still lacking.

That's not to say it isn't a great phone, but it's not quite the knockout hit it could have been, and there are a number of areas where there's room for improvement.

So we've put together everything we want to see from the new HTC, as well as all the news and rumors we've seen surrounding HTC's next big phone release.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? HTC's next flagship, successor to the HTC 10
  • When's it out? Possibly March 20
  • What will it cost? It will have a high-end price

HTC 11 release date

Hottest leaks:

  • May be announced on March 20
  • Should be available to buy soon after the initial launch

HTC normally launches its flagships early in the year and 2016 was no exception, though it skipped MWC (Mobile World Congress - a major exhibition for the mobile industry).

And it's skipped MWC this year too, with the company suggesting a new flagship is on the way, but not until after the event.

That's apparently down to the availability - or lack thereof - of the next flagship chip, which is likely the Snapdragon 835. But waiting until after MWC could make sense either way, as otherwise the HTC 11 would be competing with the recently announced HTC U Ultra.

Our best guess for the announcement date is March 20, as HTC's Taiwanese Facebook page recently posted the image above, along with that date and the caption “HTC will give you an unexpected surprise.”

The HTC 11 itself wasn't named, and wouldn't exactly be what we'd consider a surprise, so the post may not be talking about that, but with the phone on the horizon the timing would make sense. 

It also looks like the HTC 11 may launch under a different name, but right now we don't know what it will be. HTC’s President of Smartphone and Connected Devices Business, Chialin Chang, confirmed there won't be a phone called the HTC 11, but wouldn't say what it will actually be called.

TechRadar's take: Our best guess for the HTC 11's launch is the first half of 2017, so a March 20 announcement is believable, but with the HTC U Ultra about to fill a flagship-shaped hole a later launch is possible.

HTC 11 design

Hottest leaks:

  • A metal shell or possibly a glass back instead
  • An edge-to-edge screen

A Chinese source on Weibo has shared an image of what the HTC 11 may end up looking like. 

The social media account hasn't been clear on the exact source of the leaked design, but it's an interesting concept, taking elements from the HTC Bolt/10 Evo.

As you can see, the back appears to be metal, the edges slope off sharply and the front has an edge-to-edge screen. It's a striking look.

But since then HTC has announced the U Ultra - a flagship phone with a shiny glass back - so it's possible that the HTC 11 will have a similar design, though HTC may equally want to differentiate the lines by giving them different designs.

And we've also seen leaked shots of a phone believed to be the HTC One X10 - so probably not the HTC 11 then, but as with the U Ultra it's possible that the HTC 11 will have a similar design, in which case you can look forward to a metal unibody with a fingerprint scanner on the back.

TechRadar's take: HTC's stuck with metal on its main flagship line in recent years and to generally impressive effect, so we'd guess metal will be back again for the HTC 11.

HTC 11 display

Hottest leaks:

  • It looks like a 5.5-inch QHD display, which may also be curved
  • Also rumors of a second display, much like the LG V20
  • An unusual resolution

Two separate rumors suggest the HTC 11 will feature a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 display - an upgrade on the 5.2-inch HTC 10 screen - so this is likely going to be a slightly bigger phone.

One Weibo leaker even suggested the phone will come with a curved display. If that sounds familiar it's because the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has exactly the same setup.

However, not all sources agree with that resolution, with a recent leak suggesting it will actually have a 1556 x 2550 screen - that's an odd resolution and would suggest an unusual aspect ratio if it's right.

There's also a chance that the HTC 11 will have a tiny secondary display above the main one, like we've seen on the LG V20, given that the HTC U Ultra has been announced with exactly that feature.

But then again HTC is likely to want to differentiate the two ranges, and for that reason a jump in screen size to 5.5 inches also may not happen, as that would leave it only slightly smaller than the 5.7-inch HTC U Ultra.

TechRadar's take: Other than talk of an unusual resolution none of these specs sound unlikely, as HTC is going to want to do something to upgrade its screen and a size boost with curves should do the trick. Don't count on a second screen as that hasn't specifically been attached to the HTC 11, but we wouldn't count it out either.

HTC 11 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • Brand new Snapdragon 835 chipset, the latest from Qualcomm
  • A huge 8GB of RAM onboard
  • May see lots of storage with one rumor suggesting 256GB

HTC itself has hinted at the use of the Snapdragon 835 in the HTC 11, while one Chinese source has revealed some additional apparent HTC 11 details. The leak suggests the phone will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset under the hood as well as 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

Those would certainly be flagship specs, as the Snapdragon 835 is likely to be the top-end chip of choice in 2017, and 8GB of RAM is almost unheard of in any current handsets.

We've heard similar but slightly more muted specs from another source, with a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage put forward.

As for the operating system, we'd expect the HTC 11 to come with the latest version of Android Nougat and HTC's own overlay on top. Indeed, both Android Nougat and HTC Sense 9.0 have been attached to the phone in a leak.

TechRadar's take: A Snapdragon 835 chip is likely and 256GB of storage is possible, considering the iPhone 7 now features that much room, but 8GB of RAM would be a huge upgrade given the HTC 10 and HTC U Ultra only have 4GB.

HTC 11 camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A rear 12MP shooter, 8MP selfie camera
  • No dual-lens sensor
  • 3,700mAh battery, which is larger than the HTC 10

A Weibo source states that the HTC 11 will have a 12MP rear camera - which is the same spec as the HTC 10, but we'd imagine it will be improved in some ways.

The phone will also apparently have an 8MP front-facing camera, and it doesn't sound like we'll be getting a dual-lens camera.

There aren't many battery rumors, but one source claims a 3,700mAh battery will be powering the handset. That's up from just 3000mAh in the HTC 10, so the HTC 11 could be a long-lasting phone.

TechRadar's take: HTC often does its own thing with cameras, so it's no surprise that it's apparently not jumping on the dual-lens bandwagon. We're less sure about the battery jump rumors, as even the 5.7-inch HTC U Ultra only has a 3000mAh unit.

HTC 11 other features

Hottest leaks:

  • A futuristic 'Sense Touch' feature
  • Possibly HTC Vive branding on the phone
  • No headphone port, like the iPhone 7

A recent leaked video shows an HTC phone with Vive branding. Could this be the HTC 11? We're skeptical, but it's possible that HTC is re-branding the phone, and maybe even making a major mobile VR push, much like Samsung has been doing with Gear VR.

We've also seen a concept phone by one of HTC's concept artists, known as the HTC Ocean, which was shown off with a 'Sense Touch' feature, which allowed users to control aspects of the phone by swiping or tapping the metal frame that ran along the edge.

This could be used for example to adjust the volume of your music or the brightness of your screen with a swipe, or to take a photo with a tap.

As the HTC Ocean was seemingly a concept phone it would be reasonable to think the feature is little more than fantasy, but more recently reliable leaker @evleaks tweeted that "Ocean is real and alive." He's since followed that up with a leaked video, showing the feature off.

As unlikely as the feature might still seem, evidence of it continues to roll in, including a screenshot tweeted by @evleaks, showing an HTC phone settings screen with an 'Edge Sense' toggle, which sounds like it could well be an alternate name for Sense Touch.

Beyond that, we can look at previous HTC handsets to get an idea of likely features. For example, Hi-Res audio and BoomSound are both likely, for loud, crisp sound whether listening through headphones or the internal speakers.

But given that the HTC U Ultra doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone port there's a good chance that the HTC 11 won't either.

TechRadar's take: Sense Touch/Edge Sense still sounds more like a concept than a real feature, so don't count on seeing it, but there's certainly growing evidence that can't be ignored. A move to Vive branding would seem a little unlikely too - and if it was going to happen we'd expect to have heard more about it by now, but it's possible.

HTC 11 price

Hottest leaks:

  • We think it may cost around £570 or $699 (about AU$960)
  • No solid rumors for the HTC 11 price so far though

We don't know exact pricing details for the HTC 11 yet, but expect it to be an expensive phone with a price tag that rivals the other flagship phones out there.

TechRadar's take: Our best guess is to go on the pricing of the HTC 10, which cost £570 or $699 (about AU$960) at launch.