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HTC's new One A9 will gulp Android updates days after Nexus mobes

Midrange smartie aimed at firmware tinkerers

HTC is pinning its comeback on better service, and cuddling up closer to Google.

The troubled Taiwanese manufacturer's latest model, the midrange One A9, will come in an "Unlocked Edition," allowing tinkerers to customize the Android operating system without voiding their warranty. And HTC promises the One A9 will get Android updates within 15 days of them hitting Google's Nexus range.

The One A9 – one of the first non-Nexus mobes to run Android 6.0 aka Marshmallow – will be available in early November. HTC said it was "collaborating more closely with Google" on a range of features.

The phone, with a 5-inch display, features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 617 system-on-chip – which has four 64-bit ARMv8 1.5GHz and four 1.2GHz cores – plus 3GB of RAM, 32GB of flash storage, a 13Mp main shooter with optical image stabilizer, and a 2150mAh fixed battery. SIM-free pricing from the manufacturer starts at $399.99 stateside.

It retains the One M series' branding, but not the styling. The phone itself bears a strong resemblance to an iPhone 6, only with HTC's home button grafted onto the front, and the distinctive stereo front facing speakers have been dropped.

HTC has neglected its midrange, while its flagship One M7 and M8 models picked up design awards. But this year's flagship M9 fails to meet expectations. HTC said in June it was losing 24 cents for every dollar of revenue it received, and it hasn't got much better: earnings for August and September are running 52 per cent and 57 percent below last year's. ®

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