HTC is unveiling its newest flagship, the HTC U, come May 16 and just like most brands, the company’s handset has a killer feature that would distinguish itself from other devices. We’re talking about the pressure-sensitive frame built around the body which makes it the world’s first squeezable Android phone. But how does it exactly work? And how much will it actually be able to do? Read on to find out!
What is Edge Sense?
Edge Sense, also called Sense Touch in some reports, refers to the sensor on the sides of the HTC U that allows you to easily open apps and perform functions by simply squeezing the metal edges. It is likely to be a bit like having a customizable button which you’ll be able to toggle to perform two different things–one with a short press, and another with a long one. Past leaks indicate the sensors seem to be placed on the bottom half of the device, right where one would normally grip the smartphone.
However, others suggest the feature will exist in place of physical buttons. This means HTC might ditch the volume buttons, although unlikely, so one can simply swipe the edge to control the volume. Regardless, you have the option to choose among three different sensitivity levels, presumably to avoid accidentally enabling apps when the device is in a tight pocket or just being held.
— HTC (@htc) April 20, 2017
What can it do?
Since the device hasn’t been released yet, it’s unclear what exactly its capabilities are. But based on HTC’s newly released HTC U teaser, which has the tagline “squeeze for the brilliant,” users should be able to squeeze the sides making the aforementioned long and short presses a likely feature.
Edge Sense should also at least enable launching of apps and features of the upcoming flagship. For example, according to the leaked set-up screen images, a short squeeze when the screen is unlocked would open the camera. Customization is plausibly included as well, so we’ll likely be able to choose the apps that launch when we interact with the sensors but how customizable it would be remains to be seen. Perhaps, the device would give users a selection of functions to choose from.
Whatever it is, it should go beyond opening applications if HTC wants Edge Sense to live up to its “killer feature” title. If the predictions are correct, it would be able to change the volume, scroll down web pages and interact with applications by swiping, squeezing and other context-sensitive interactions. Examples are shown in the concept video below.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 20, 2016
Other HTC U features
Apart from Edge Sense, the dual-SIM HTC U will also boast a 5.5-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) display with Gorilla Glass 5 on top. Running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, it will house a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC coupled with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM options. It will also offer either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage depending on the RAM.
Camera-wise, it’ll come with a 12-megapixel Sony IMX362 sensor at the back and a 16-megapixel IMX351 sensor over at the front, suggesting the handset is a selfie-focused smartphone. Other rumored features include a 3000mAh battery, Quick Charge 3.0 support, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 5.0
The HTC U launch time is very much geared to the Taiwanese brand’s home locale. It’s happening at exactly 2 pm in Taipei, which is 7 am in London and 2 in the morning in New York. HTC will livestream the event on its website. The upcoming device joins two other “U” phones revealed in January this year—the U Ultra and the U Play.