HTC Unveils the U11 Squeeze-Sensing Smartphone

Unveiled earlier today, the new U11 flagship smartphone from HTC comes with an unusual feature: the ability to control certain functions by squeezing the sides of the device.

Called "Edge Sense," HTC said the new feature is designed to usher in "a new age of phone interactions." The squeeze-based capabilities can be configured in a variety of ways, allowing users to use touch to do everything from launch a digital assistant to open Facebook or Twitter.

Powered by a Qualcomm 835 Snapdragon processor and running Android 7.1, the U11 also features a 5.5-inch display and is available in a palette of "liquid" glass surface colors. Either carrier-based or unlocked versions can be pre-ordered starting at $649, with shipping set for next month.

Squeeze Control Is 'Natural, Intuitive'

HTC had three goals in developing its latest smartphone: creating a new way to interact with a device, supporting voice/natural language commands across a variety of platforms, and offering next-generation support for multimedia, HTC president of smartphone and connected devices Chialin Chang said during a launch event in Taiwan today.

HTC developed Edge Sense because it concluded squeezing was a "natural, intuitive" way of interacting with a phone. "Apply a little squeeze, all sorts of brilliant things will come out," he said.

For example, Chang demonstrated how squeezing the U11 could activate either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Users can specify other actions via short or long squeezes, or by combining such gestures with a voice command, he said.Edge Sense can be configured to do everything from taking photos to launching favorite apps or sending text messages, HTC said on its Web site.

"Before, it was a hassle to reach these features, but we simplified it into a single motion," the company said, adding that Edge Sense will also make it easier to operate the...

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