The U.S. model of the HTC U11 Life ships with weaker specs, lower price tag, and doesn't run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box like the Android One variant of the device does, the Taiwanese company revealed earlier today. While the international version of the handset boasts 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal flash memory, the one meant for the United States will have half the storage space and 3GB of RAM, in addition to featuring Android 7.1 Nougat with HTC Sense. Android Authority reports that an update to Android 8.0 Oreo will be distributed to all HTC U11 Life units in the U.S. in late November but the phone maker has yet to say that in an official capacity. Canadian consumers will seemingly receive the same model as their southern neighbors.
The fact that the North American version of the U11 Life is less capable than the Android One edition of the phone does come with one advantage for consumers to the west of the Atlantic, as the smartphone will only set them back $349 ($449 CAD) instead of the equivalent of $460, which is how much the global variant will approximately cost. The two versions are thus targeting significantly different markets; the Android One model appears to be aimed at the upper mid-range segment, whereas the North American variant is seemingly positioned to be an extremely value-oriented offering seeking to capture particularly price-conscious consumers that still want to avoid purchasing an entry-level device. The HTC U11 Life is hence setting to compete in the same niche that's presently occupied by the Moto G5S Plus in the U.S. and Canada instead of being presented as a slightly less capable alternative to traditional flagships like it is in Europe and other parts of the world. The more affordable model will also boast native support for Amazon's Alexa in addition to the Google Assistant, unlike the variant which HTC launched in partnership with Google. Finally, the global variant of the device with stock Android Oreo will also be available with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, HTC confirmed.
Besides the aforementioned differences, consumers in North America will only be able to purchase the Sapphire Blue HTC U11 Life for the time being, whereas the Brilliant Black one has so far been confirmed just for Europe. The Taiwanese phone maker has yet to clarify whether it's planning to expand the color options of the HTC U11 Life in the U.S. and Canada in the future, though the company has a history of doing so, having most recently opted to gradually introduce more smartphone variants in North America with the original U11.