Electronics giant HTC released its new flagship smartphone U11 on Tuesday in Taiwan, with the company revealing an all-new way of getting people to interact with their handsets.
The U11 phone can be squeezed – pressure applied to sides – to receive commands, and will distinguish between a “short squeeze” and a “long squeeze” to perform different tasks.
HTC is spruiking taking selfies as a prime use-case for the squeeze action — which it calls HTC Sense Edge — enabling phone users to take easily a picture one-handed without fumbling around to press the screen.
HTC Sense Edge also allows you to “type” an SMS message one-handed by applying a short squeeze and speaking into it, with the voice then turned into text.
The pressure required for squeeze commands can be adjusted, as well as the actions performed by short and long squeezes.
Unlike tapping and swiping on screens, the squeeze action can be performed with gloves on or in wet conditions. HTC is thus claiming the U11 as the first phone that can practically take photos underwater (it’s also waterproof).
Business Insider briefly tried squeezing the U11 handset and found the metal frame remained rigid upon use.
While HTC Sense Edge can be customised to launch any app, in-app functionality is currently only available on HTC software. Business Insider understands that integration into third party apps will come later this year.
To complement the squeeze functionality, the manufacturer spruiked the advanced voice assistant capabilities of the U11 — which come with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and HTC Sense Companion ready to use out of the box.
Australian pricing and availability has not yet been announced.
The journalist travelled to Taipei courtesy of HTC.