HTC 'M7' render leaks out

There’s rightfully some excitement online today about a newly leaked render claiming to show what’s next from HTC -- a high-end Android smartphone known by the codename “M7.” The image comes from UnwiredView via @evleaks, which has a good track record of bringing leaked images like this into public view.

The shot seems to show the front face of a phone with rounded corners, the standard assortment of ports and sensors, and an unusual front-facing speaker setup -- or an even weirder earpiece and microphone arrangement. It looks more than a little odd. Yes, it looks a lot like an iPhone.

But to understand what’s going on with this render, it’s worth underscoring where it actually came from, and looking briefly at the history surrounding these kinds of leaks. Unlike many leaked renders, it wasn’t created to show of the device to the public and press. Consider these sentences from the original post:

"The render is apparently part of a short animation clip instructing new owners on first-time SIM card installation. However, the lack of branding and other details (distinct screen borders, for instance) suggest that this is not the exact design HTC is expected to debut at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.”

As an early leak, this is great stuff. But it's worth remembering that while this render might well come from an early version of the M7 ROM, it's not necessarily a lock for what the phone will look like. And there's precedent for this sort of thing, where early renders end up looking nothing like what's announced.

Let's have a look back.

As a general rule, pre-release images should be taken with a pinch of salt. As we’ve learned from talking to manufacturers off (and sometimes on) the record, smartphones, like any product, go through various design iterations before hitting store shelves. Various design tracks could be in play in the months before release, before eventually being abandoned in favor of a winning design. Recall the two images below, genuine HTC leaks showing the device that eventually became the One X. Yet the finished product bears little resemblance.

HTC leak

So designs evolve over time. And some manufacturers, such as Samsung, even develop several versions of major handsets in order to decrease the likelihood of the real thing leaking out. Such is the importance of keeping under wraps the final design of a much-anticipated device.

Unwired View's scoop here is a good leak. Maybe today’s image is HTC’s next big thing, or at least some rough version of it. If you ignore the apparent iPhone similarities, the basic shape isn’t a million miles away from that of phones like the EVO 4G LTE and Droid DNA. But more likely, we think, it’s a placeholder or an early prototype, and what we eventually see from the Taiwanese manufacturer will take a somewhat different form. Sometimes a render will tell the entire story of a phone before we've even penciled the launch event into our calendar. In other cases, like this one, a render is just a render.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • Very "DNA" looking. But I am sure that is what the person who is trying to pass it off as real was going for.
  • Looks like the new BlackBerry
  • Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home) Happy New Year!
  • Dimensions look very iPhone 5'ish
  • Oh yeah, today is the 16th, supposedly 2 more weeks and the new BB10 will be launching,... supposedly. Well,...whatever.
  • No more non-Nexus HTC phones for me. Sense is just awful. I wish I could find a way to make it kill itself.
  • If this were a Nexus device it'd be an insta-buy for me. Not sure I want to mess with 'sense' anymore :-/
  • Pure android is so default'ish... Yet, if you don't like Sense - just flash a new rom.. The hardware and build quality is still totally worth it.
    Sense is ever evolving and the last version of it (4+ whatever..) is absolutely great for me. While in the past it may have had lag issues, now it is clearly better and waaay more sleek than other manufacturers, like Samsung is cartoon'ish and LG with Sony?.. Don't know... Just doesn't feel like it.
  • Yeah, that's not what it'll look like
  • I hope the grills at the top and the bottom are an indication of a decent front-facing speaker setup. Playing games and watching movies/videos really sucks when the speaker is broadcasting away from your ears.
  • The camera looks very "Iphone 5-ish" along with dimensions like Guy said.
    Not much i know about this yet, but i hope its really gonna be highend contract ending soon!!!! Not sure if nexus 4 is still the phone to get anymore.
  • It never was
  • I have seen a lot of iPhones, activated many at my store. This looks nothing like an iPhone.
  • You obviously need glasses!
  • I have four sets of glasses, and it still doesn't look like an iPhone to me!!!
  • You need your own prescription glasses because the shape and two toned back look exactly like the back of the iPhone 5.
  • All yer rounded corners are belong to apple.
  • Looks like a windows phone to me but I know its not. I hope the windows phone for sprint isn't the 8x! Every other carriee got there own wjndows phones, but sprint is late ...
  • Sure it looks iponeish or blackberryish, but more impressively, if the black is all screen, it virtually( no pun intended) has no bezel! After seeing how impressive that Motorola m or whatever it's called, even though it's screen is the same as the bionic's, I was really expressed how compact the phone is. This HTC has far less bezel than the m, the I phone and certainly the latest rim offering. Plus if you use the bezel on the sides as a ruler, the bezels on the top and bottom look kinda of smallish than any previous phones. I think it will be the smallest phone with a large screen, an interesting form factor. This might save HTC!
  • Where's the Apple logo?
  • Its on the back... oh hold on a minute this is the back. HA!
  • Has anybody else noticed how the front-facing camera is either massive or the phone itself is very small?
  • Where's the Blackberry logo. Best looking HTC phone in a looooooooooooooong time
  • i like the One X and the SV and the DNA more.
  • I would say prototype or fake, the holes for the speaker grills are too large. But the chance for front stereo speakers sounds so good.
  • woop woop!
  • Ya know I'm 61 years old (but I do run a tech team for IGS so I'm not completely out of the loop kids and I've got a gaming PC that'd make yer jaw drop) and I'm really hoping HTC has a winner with this thing. I like their build quality, I don't mind Sense (a matter of personal taste) but I really hope the "so far vaporware" specs on this thing come true. The DNA just doesn't do it for me yet. Too little storage (yeah, yeah, USB OTG and a thumb drive, I know already), too small battery, neither of which can be swapped or extended easily. More Verizon BS I suspect than anything else. If the M7 is truly a multi-carrier device then Verizon might not be able to crap all over it as much as they always do. I'm stuck with Big Red because they have the best coverage for LTE here and I get a company discount using them. I'm still going to have to pay full retail for my next phone because it will be a ton of money cheaper than losing my grandfathered unlimited data. Front facing stereo speakers as the picture here seems to indicate would be a nice addition to the already "again so far vaporware" specs of this phone. I'll gladly plunk down $700 for a REAL M7 as described vs $600 for the DNA. MWC can't come soon enough for me. My Xmas present from my wife is the new phone of my choice. Come on HTC, blow me away! I'm spending the old lady's money!
  • Agree with just about all of this. I have and love my DNA but if this has the rumored specs then I am gonna have to buy it.
  • How does this look like an iPhone?
    Because it's white and has round corners?
    Edge to edge screen, much thinner bezels, those grills are non-existent on an iPhone...seriously. Do we really need to compare the look of every phone to a fucking iPhone?
  • ...Erm because it's like its mirror image angry person. We don't need to compare EVERY phone to the iPhone 5 apart from this one.
  • You do realize the AC photo is the FRONT of the device right? So what if it looks like the back of the iphone (to a few morons). Edge to edge display/very small bezel. This is going to be the trend of flagships this year. 5" display but within the same parameters/form factor of today's 4.3"/4.7" devices.
  • I hope this isnt the final version thats released to the public. HTC can definitely do a lot better and have in the design department. I just can't get past those speaker grills. They just dont' make this a good look.I bet it doesnt look this.
  • Wow, speakers on the front of the phone, what a great idea. You can actually watch something without cupping your hand around the back of the phone. This would be a cool design
  • It's like the One X & the iPhone had a baby..