HTC 10 leaked renders (via Evan Blass)
The HTC One M9 is a perfectly lovely phone. Its build is typically impeccable, its Sense skin is easy on the eyes with a few neat tricks, and its front-facing speakers are best in class. But yet, looking back at last year, HTC's 2015 flagship feels like a disappointment.
Criticism varied from complaints about its almost imperceptible design changes to its camera, which fell short of the excellent examples found in the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4. That was then though, and a new year is upon us - one with plenty of smartphone promise.
The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge have already impressed us, replacing their predecessors atop our list of the best smartphones in the world right now, and the LG G5 had a very promising debut at MWC 2016.
But HTC's new One M successor, reportedly just called the HTC 10 this time around, could be the dark horse to disrupt those powerhouse phones after a less than spectacular showing the last time around. Much has already leaked about the handset - here's what we know.
HTC 10 leaked renders (via Evan Blass)
We don't have to speculate too much about the look of the HTC 10: assuming these renders and the leaked prototype photos aren't all elaborate fakes, then we already know what to expect.
The HTC 10 clearly takes some influence from last year's One A9, which itself was strongly iPhone-influenced, but the new handset isn't completely Apple-alike. As the images (via leaker Evan Blass) show, the rounded shape and backing keep some common design elements from the earlier One devices.
In other words, it's not quite as distinctive as, say, the much-loved One (M8), but it's also not the meek copycat we feared when the first front-facing images leaked out. Cheers for that. And you can catch a glimpse of the four expected colour options above.
One potential disappointment here, however: the BoomSound speakers from the previous models are missing, swapped out in favour of implementing a home button and a fingerprint sensor.
Paired with the other design shifts, it's a significant move away from what many HTC fans loved about the One M line. But in terms of functionality, we imagine a lot of people will take the consistent utility of a fingerprint scanner over front-facing speakers.
HTC 10 leaked photo (via Evan Blass)
None of HTC's previous M series flagships managed to dip their toes in the 2K resolution waters, but all the rumours point to the HTC 10 taking the plunge.
According to leaked specs from King Leaker @evleaks, the HTC 10 will have a slightly larger 5.1in, 2K display, bringing it in line with its main Samsung, Sony and LG rivals.
Interestingly, the display will also apparently be an AMOLED affair - another first for an M series flagship.
The Samsung Galaxy S6's Super AMOLED 2K screen is widely regarded as one of the best smartphone screens around at the moment, so if HTC can match it for colour reproduction and sharpness, then it could be onto a winner.
Although the display will be slightly larger at 5.1 inches, we're hoping that the bezel reduction will make it more manageable for smaller handed users.
HTC has never quite managed to nail the camera on its past few flagships
HTC has never quite managed to nail the camera on its past few flagships.
HTC has experimented with UltraPixel cameras in the past, with decent, if not spectacular results. What let it down however, was the resolution, with the One M8's 4MP affair taking criticism for the low megapixel count. That looks set to change in the HTC 10 though, with a 12MP UltraPixel snapper apparently taking over.
The benefit of 'UltraPixels', as HTC calls them, comes from their larger size. Bigger pixels suck in more light, which means more detail in low light conditions.
If the specs are true and we really are looking at a 12MP sensor, then colour us happy. If HTC can nail the post-processing, we could be looking at sharp, detailed photos that can be cropped into without encountering fuzzy noise.
Surprise surprise - the HTC 10 will be company's most powerful phone yet.
The handset is expected to arrive with Qualcomm's latest, most powerful processor, the Snapdragon 820, churning away under the hood.
Coupled with an expected 4GB of RAM, we expect nothing less than perfect performance from Android 6.0 Marshmallow, even with a new version of HTC Sense running on top.
The proof will be in the pudding, of course, and benchmark numbers don't necessarily mean real world performance is slick and smooth. Again, we'll have to wait for our full review to see how Qualcomm's silicon handles the real world.
Price and release date
HTC 10 teaser image
All the latest rumours point to HTC holding its own launch event in London, on 11 April, ensuring that the 10 gets all the limelight.
The One M9 hit shelves a month after its March reveal last year, and if HTC follows the same pattern, we expect to see the HTC 10 in pockets in May.
We'll be bringing you all of the official HTC 10 news from its expected launch event, so stay tuned.