HTC has been promising another "hero" phone this October to try and turn around its dismal fiscal performance, but what that device would look like has remained a mystery. Would it just be a tweaked One M9? If a claimed photo leak is accurate, it might be considerably more than that. The two images purport to show the A9 (aka Aero), a handset that has very little in common with the M9. Its camera is above the antenna stripe (reminiscent of the M8's depth camera) rather than below, and it appears to be flatter. The front, meanwhile, looks like it's switching to "2.5D" curved glass. Those aren't far-fetched changes, but we can't blame you if you're still skeptical -- these pics are tough to verify, so it's possible that they're just fanciful renderings.
And what's inside? That's even less certain, although there are rumors that the A9 will use a 10-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch quad HD display and a hefty 3,500mAh battery. If so, this would be a different beast than the M9, focusing more on longevity (the main reason the X20 has all those cores) over raw performance. With that said, we're not convinced yet. The X20 isn't supposed to be ready until early 2016, so you may see a more familiar chip inside HTC's stopgap smartphone.