As HTC marks its 20th birthday, the company will probably reflect on the last couple of decades in much the same way that most people do as they leave their teenage days behind. There were the first few years that nobody can really remember, followed by a hectic growing-up period consisting of some great moments and several dodgy looks. Now, in its landmark year, HTC is celebrating with the launch of a new range of phones, but will the eagerly-awaited HTC U11 be worth the hype?
When Will It Be Out?
The HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play were both launched in January, but the ace in the pack was always going to be the HTC U11. It will be available in Asia this week, the UK next month and the rest of the world later in 2017, and HTC has a lot riding on this as it continues to fight for a share of the smartphone market against tech giants such as Apple and Samsung.
HTC has pulled out all the stops in an effort to make this new device something special, with a glass-based design that gives the phone an eye-catching appearance as it shimmers from different angles in the way that you might find on a custom car paint job. The HTC U11 sticks to a 16:9 display, measuring 5.5-inches on the diagonal and has added a huge amount of power to help it compete, but it is the innovative new Edge Sense feature which has really captured the imagination.
What is Edge Sense?
In a bid to revolutionise the way that users interact with their phones and make the experience more exciting, HTC bosses have incorporated a squeezable edge into the U11. The idea is that you will be able to gently squeeze the pressure-sensitive sides to control various actions, for example, the first press of a locked phone would launch the camera and the next would take a photo. You would also be able to switch from front to back camera with a long squeeze.
The Edge Sense could operate other functions as well, for example, if the keyboard was open a squeeze would launch voice entry so that you could speak a message. Developers have taken steps to make sure that simply gripping the phone is not mistaken for a squeeze and the whole thing will be customisable – so you can specify how hard the squeezes have to be to have an effect and whether you want long or short squeezes. There is also an acknowledgement of your squeeze so that you know when an action has been taken.
Will it be a Success?
HTC bosses have dismissed criticism that the Edge Sense feature is just a gimmick, saying it is a far more natural action to squeeze rather than to try and use a touchscreen. The early reports are that it works very well and, with the added power and slick design, it looks as though HTC’s 20th birthday celebrations could just go off with a bang.