While we don't know anything for sure about the HTC One M9 (other than the fact that it's coming), a number of leaks and rumors suggest it could be heavily based on the the MIA HTC One M8 Prime.
That phone was supposedly going to have a QHD display, a Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, a waterproof body and more megapixels in the camera, all of which would make sense for the HTC One M9 and with the exception of a waterproof body they're in line with some of the recent rumors, though there are conflicting leaks too.
But whatever its specs end up being we're sure it will be great, after all the HTC One M8 is sitting pretty at the top of our list of the ten best phones in the world. Not even the iPhone 6 could unseat it and we were similarly fond of the original HTC One last year.
Updates: HTC has sent out invites to a March 1 event at MWC 2015 where we expect to see its new flagship smartphone.
Cut to the chase
What is it? HTC's next flagship smartphone
When is it out? Launch event set for March 1
What will it cost? Likely at least £549 / $649 / AU$849
HTC One M9 release date
HTC has sent out invites to an event on March 1 at MWC 2015 in Barcelona, and it's almost certainly going to unveil it's next flagship smartphone here.
The invite reads "utopia in progress" - possibly a hint at the name for the flagship phone, or perhaps it's another new camera mode HTC has developed.
What we do know is we'll be there, reporting live on the event so you get all the latest news as it breaks.
News and rumors
A number of spec rumors about the HTC One M9 have emerged and they sound pretty convincing. A report out of China claims that it will have a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 QHD display, a Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 3500 mAh battery, all of which are upgrades on the HTC One M8.
Unsurprisingly it's rumored to run Android 5.0 Lollipop and apparently it will also have a 16MP camera with optical image stabilisation, which would suggest HTC is abandoning its UltraPixel technology.
Audio is seemingly still a focus though, as the report states that HTC is partnering with Bose for the phone, while the chassis will apparently be an aluminium silicon-carbide composite, though there's no word on what the actual design will be.
Another interesting piece of news, this time from now retired leaker @upleaks, has stated that HTC will drop the M9 moniker. They've now followed that up with more specific information, claiming that the next flagship will be called the HTC Hima. That wouldn't be a bad thing, given the M8 suffix isn't the most attractive - but let's be honest, that's clearly a codename.
This latest nugget of news was also accompanied by a specs listing, which is somewhat at odds with what we'd heard previously.
According to @upleaks the HTC Hima will have 3GB of RAM and an octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, with four cores running at 2.0GHz and four at 1.5GHz, allowing it to switch between them depending on what it's doing, using the slower cores to conserve battery when the extra power isn't needed.
Speaking of battery, it will apparently have just a 2840 mAh juice pack, but that's still an upgrade on the One M8's battery and combined with a more efficient processor it could get the job done, especially as the same source claims that HTC will be sticking with a 5-inch 1080p screen, rather than moving to QHD.
With the same size screen as the One (M8) comes similar dimensions apparently, as the HTC Hima is said to be 144.3 x 69.4 x 9.56mm, making it marginally shorter but actually slightly fatter than the 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm HTC One (M8).
Rounding out the specs the Hima will apparently have a 20.7MP main camera, either a 13MP or 4 UltraPixel front-facing snapper, Cat.6 LTE support and Android 5.0, overlaid with Sense 7.0. For the most part that sounds mighty promising.
However, following the 5.5-inch and 5.0-inch rumors there's now talk that the HTC Hima could meet them in the middle and have a 5.2-inch screen. That's according to Nowhereelse.fr, which even has images purportedly showing the display panel to back it up.
Somewhat surprisingly there are even now rumors that the HTC One M9 might have a MediaTek processor rather than a Qualcomm one. That's according to Chinese media and has been picked up by GforGames. However if it does that will likely be a regional version for China and possibly some other markets but not the whole world.
While it's possible that all versions will sport it we'd be surprised, as MediaTek chips tend to be cheaper and less powerful than Qualcomm's. More likely if this is on the cards at all it will be for developing markets.
So we'd love for the HTC One M9 to have more juice. We don't think two days of battery life should be unrealistic, after all the HTC One M8 and a number of other phones can already comfortably make it into a second day, they just need a bit of a boost to make it to the end of the day.
If HTC can deliver even more than that then great, but we'd be happy with two days, at least until the M10 comes around.
A better camera
The HTC One M8 is great in low light as its lens lets more light in than competing smartphone cameras, but when you're trying to take photos in bright conditions all the extra light it takes in actually seems to work against it, causing the image to over-expose.
On top of that it's only got a 4MP sensor, which is fine when you're just viewing shots on your phone, but blow them up and there'll be noticeable noise.
So ideally we want more megapixels and a sensor which is as adept in bright light as low light. It almost seems like HTC itself might be moving away from UltraPixels, given that the HTC One Mini 2 and the HTC One E8 both have 13MP snappers, so we might well see a big change to the camera in the HTC One M9.
A QHD display
The HTC One M8 has a gorgeous screen, but it's very much an early 2014 screen, as the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are now bringing QHD (1440 x 2560) displays to the mainstream.
All those extra pixels don't make a huge difference but it is a noticeable one and if the HTC One M9 doesn't have a QHD display then it risks being overlooked, because you can be almost certain that the competition will.
A sapphire screen
Since we're talking about the screen, how about making it with sapphire crystal glass? The HTC One M9 is bound to be expensive, so many people are going to want to put it in a case to keep it protected, but it's also bound to be a thing of beauty so it would be a shame to cover it up.
The more durable it is the less necessary that becomes and a sapphire crystal screen would help a lot. The iPhone 6 didn't have one in the end, so if the HTC One M9 does it could also be the first mainstream smartphone to do so, which would surely be a big selling point.
Water and dust resistance
Another way to keep it protected is with dust and water resistance. We don't need to be able to take it swimming, but knowing that it could survive a spill or a bit of rain would certainly be reassuring and now that Samsung and Sony are both water and dust proofing their phones there's little excuse for HTC not to do the same.
HTC One M9: More of what we want to see
More of a health and fitness focus
The world is going health and fitness mad, or at least that's what many of the latest smartphones and smartwatches would lead you to believe. HTC though doesn't seem so interested and we can't help but feel that it's missing a trick, especially if the market for fitness focused tech continues to grow.
Sure a heart rate monitor and UV sensor are hardly essential components of a smartphone, but we wouldn't say no to them and we'd also be quite happy to see more of a focus on fitness software from HTC, rather than it relying on third party solutions, as HTC has done with the M8 by simply including the Fitbit app. Apple has Health, Samsung has S Health, HTC needs something.
Lots of power
It's reached the point where almost every high end phone and a fair few lower end ones feel fast and powerful, so we don't really need a lot more power in the HTC One M9.
But specs sell and while HTC's flagships are always powerful they're not always quite as powerful as the competition, at least on paper. So next year we hope that changes. Impress us HTC, put in an octa-core Snapdragon 810 with 6GB of RAM, or at least make sure your phone is a match for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Sony Xperia Z4.
An even better design and build
Design is one of the things HTC has done best in recent years, with the One M8 rivalling even Apple's products, but it could still be better.
There's that black bar below the screen for example. On the original HTC One that housed some capacitive buttons, but they've gone from the HTC One M8 so it no longer serves any visible purpose. There may well be some internal reasons for it but we'd love it if HTC could find a way to remove it.
HTC could also improve the buttons, which feel a little plastic on the M8 and we'd rather have the headphone port on the top than the bottom.
HTC wisely added a microSD card slot to the M8, but we'd still love more internal storage. Apple now offers 128GB iPhones, so why can't an Android phone do the same? And more specifically why can't HTC?
Do that while still including microSD support and we could be looking at a phone with 256GB of combined storage, which is far more than most people are ever likely to need, but we'd rather have too much than too little.
Category 6 LTE
4G is taking off in a big way, but while current phones are equipped to support the fastest speeds we're likely to get in most places right now, they're not particularly future-proofed. That's why we'd like to see HTC put Category 6 LTE support in the HTC One M9.
That would theoretically allow it to reach download speeds of around 300Mbps, which is double what most current handsets can manage and should make it a viable handset right up until 5G arrives.