According to popular HTC leakster, LlabTooFeR, HTC's next smartphone which is said to be the HTC U12 Life, won't be manufactured by the company and it will be coming with Android 8.1 Oreo instead of Android 9 Pie. LlabTooFeR is pretty well-known for his leaks on HTC products in the past few years, so this is very likely to be true. But according to his tweet, the U12 Life is going to be an ODM device, which means that a third-party manufacturer will be making this device, and slapping a HTC logo on the device. It's unclear why this is the case, but it could be due to the many layoffs that HTC has gone through recently.
Typically, the portion about this launching with Android 8.1 Oreo wouldn't be too surprising. After all, the Galaxy Note 9 just launched with Android 8.1 Oreo as well. However, the HTC U11 Life that was launched last year, was actually an Android One smartphone. So if HTC is launching the U12 Life as an Android One smartphone, it would be very surprising to see it come with Android Oreo, as opposed to Pie. Android One smartphones are designed to get Android updates faster, but there are still some moving parts there. For example, if the U12 Life is running on a Snapdragon 636 chipset (as rumored), it's going to take longer for Qualcomm to push out the necessary binaries for that chipset with Android Pie, pushing back the update. And that's because Qualcomm works on the Snapdragon 800-series chipsets first then, the 600-series and so forth.
Currently, there's not a lot of information to go on about the specs of the HTC U12 Life, but leaks have pointed to a 6-inch 18:9 full HD+ display, with the Snapdragon 636 chipset. It's also expected to sport 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. While the U12 Life is expected to have dual-cameras on the back - 16-megapixel and 5-megapixels - as well as a 13-megapixel front-facing camera. Finally, it is expected to sport a 3600mAh capacity battery.