HTC's new phone looks like an iPhone, but it's way cheaper

htc one a9 2

Hey, does this look familiar to you?

HTC has introduced a smartphone with a flat aluminum back, curved edges, antenna break lines near the top and bottom and a camera that bumps out very slightly at the top. It has a speaker grille and a headphone jack on either side of the power port on the bottom.

The new HTC One A9 smartphone is a dead-ringer for the iPhone 6S in virtually every way -- except for its price tag. It costs just $400, compared to the iPhone's $650.

HTC said it was a coincidence that the new One A9 follows the same design guidelines that the iPhone (and to a large degree the Samsung Galaxy S6) hold to.

"We've gotten that feedback before, but it wasn't intentional," said Drew Bamford, head of HTC's creative labs. "We view the fact that a competitor reached the same conclusion that we did as an affirmation that we are right about where this space is going."

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HTC was the first Android smartphone maker, and it enjoyed early success in the smartphone space. But it has struggled mightily lately as Samsung, Apple and a host of Chinese smartphone makers have passed it by.

Its flagship HTC One M line of smartphones has received mostly positive reviews. But its thicker profile scared off some customers, and its signature dual front-facing stereo speakers failed to win over many potential buyers.

There is still a segment of customers that will want the high-end features and quality of the M-line, Bamford said. But he noted that the new A-line was built for the vast majority of smartphone customers who are looking for something a little more balanced: A phone that's thinner, more stylish and customized to their everyday needs.

It has a more run-of-the-mill processor, just a decent amount of memory and a pretty tiny battery. But it's light, has a fingerprint sensor, quick charging technology, a better-than-average camera (on paper, anyway), and it's the first third-party phone to ship with Google's new Android Marshmallow operating system.

HTC also said that it put a lot of focus on the headphone jack, promising better-than-CD audio quality.

That used to be a decent amount of phone for $400. But Motorola and OnePlus set the price bar so high (or low, depending on how you look at it), that the $400 price tag seems a bit steep. The Moto X Pure Edition is a true flagship phone that costs $400, and the excellent OnePlus 2 can be had for $329.

The HTC One A9 can be pre-ordered from on Tuesday, and it will go on sale in November.

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