THE VERGE: HTC is announcing its newest smartphone today, the U11 flagship. The U11 is the successor to last year’s HTC 10, and has a 5.5-inch, Quad HD display, Snapdragon 835 processor, and new glass and metal design. HTC is also introducing a new way to interact with the U11 by letting you squeeze the sides of the device to perform different functions.
This new feature is called “Edge Sense,” and it can be configured to do a variety of tasks with either short or long squeezes. You can set a short squeeze to open the camera and then take a picture when the camera app is open. A long squeeze can be configured to launch the Google voice assistant or toggle the flashlight on and off.
Squeezing your phone to do things that you’re used to using a touchscreen for is an odd experience, and HTC is starting out slowly with this implementation. Nigel Newby-House, the vice president of product planning for HTC America, says that the company hopes to introduce people to this new experience with the U11 and it will expand the Edge Sense features in the future once we’re all used to gorilla gripping the sides of our phones to do things.
The experience of squeezing the phone is a little unsettling at first and definitely takes some getting used to. The phone doesn’t actually flex when you do this — the metal sides have pressure sensors just below the volume and power keys — but there is an on-screen cue when you’re activating the feature. It’s designed to make it easier to do basic tasks single-handedly, and given the U11’s expanded display dimensions, any assistance when using the phone with one hand is appreciated.
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Would you want to try out the Squeeze phone? I would!