The HTC One M9 is easily one of the most hotly anticipated smartphones of 2015 among Android enthusiasts. The mass market didn’t exactly flock to the current-generation HTC One M8, but that’s thanks largely to the fact that Samsung’s marketing and advertising budget is more than double HTC’s annual revenue. Those who found their way to the One M8 in 2014 sang universal praise of the phone though, and we’re all eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Now, that sequel may have been pictured for the first time.

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HTC sent invitations to the media last week for a big press conference to be held on March 1st in Barcelona, Spain ahead of the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, and assumptions immediately pointed to a One M9 unveiling. A subsequent report from The Wall Street Journal on Monday confirmed that the One M9 will debut during the event, alongside HTC’s first smartwatch.

We can’t wait to see what HTC has in store for us in Spain, and now it looks like we won’t have to wait. According to French gadget blog Nowhereelse, this is the HTC One M9:

HTC-One-M9-2015-Proto1

The blog on Tuesday published two leaked photos of what it claims to be a pre-release version of the HTC One M9, though it’s not clear that there will be any visual differences between this version and the version unveiled on stage by HTC on March 1st. Nowhereelse has a mixed track record with phone leaks, but it has published authentic early photos of unreleased phones many times in the past.

From the looks of things, HTC’s new flagship phone for 2015 will be a mixed bag. On the one hand, to smartphone enthusiasts it will be “the phone that the HTC One M8 should have been,” with more powerful specs inside a nearly identical housing. It will also finally — FINALLY — have a better camera according to earlier reports, which point to a 20.7-megapixel rear camera.

That new rear camera can apparently be seen in the second leaked photo:

HTC-One-M9-2015-Proto2

On the other hand, the phone doesn’t seem to feature any design updates, and we’re not sure HTC is in the same position as Apple where it can get away with launching an “S” update every other year. If this is indeed the HTC One M9, One M8 owners will seemingly have precious little reason to upgrade, leaving HTC once again battling to peel customers away from Samsung and Apple.

It’s not a fun place for a struggling smartphone company to be.

According to earlier reports, the HTC One M9 will feature a 5-inch full HD display, an octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, a 20.7-megapixel rear camera, a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, 3GB of RAM and Android Lollipop.

For more on HTC’s 2015 flagship phone, visit our HTC One M9 hub!

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