Will HTC’s Edge Sense be a gimmick that sells?

htc edge sense

There is nothing wrong if some technoloigy have gimmicks, in the grand scheme of things, unless of course that gimmick (or gimmicks) somehow doesn’t actually improve the experience in some noticeable way. Or even warrant its own existence.

Smartphones rely on individual pieces, put together in a certain way, to work, and the ultimate reality is that the majority of those pieces are the exact same, or similar enough, to what’s available in competing hardware. We’ll see more than a few Qualcomm-branded Snapdragon 835 processors in new, high-end smartphones this year, for instance. And feature sets, like the amount of RAM available, or camera technology, are all similar enough to other handsets that companies feel the need to draw in new customers with those stand-out elements.

Samsung will have Bixby to show off later this month, and even a smartphone with radically reduced bezels. Dual rear cameras in other phones, or handsets that have other software features added to the mix with proprietary user interfaces. The options are seemingly endless, and it’s honestly interesting to see what companies come up with.

HTC might have something cooking that’s legitimately interesting.

Recently, news broke that HTC’s next flagship phone is the U, and it’s codenamed “Ocean.” It will feature what we already expect from a high-end phone: 5.5-inch 2560×1440 display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, probably a lot of RAM, and what will hopefully be an impressive camera on the back.

But the go-to feature, and the one that, if it exists, HTC will surely focus on, is a touch-sensitive metal frame — reportedly being called Edge Sense. With it, owners of the upcoming flagship will be able to slide their finger over the left or right edge of the phone to choose an app, and then squeeze the phone to launch it.

In the video that accompanied the news, we see someone pull out a phone, and then use this feature to open Yelp, and in another instance someone opens the camera so they can take a selfie. In the first case, the person doesn’t have a lot of apps on their front screen, so Yelp isn’t easily accessible right there. Using the new touch-sensitive frame, though, Yelp is just a quick scrolls away.

In the second instance, it looks like the touch-sensitive frame is accessible from the lock screen, too, and we see the person launch the camera.

This seems like a pretty cool idea. If nothing else at least it’s something new. But, I can’t help but wonder if it’s actually any faster. The video is just a proof-of-concept, and I’m sure things would change for a real version, but like I mentioned above, we see one instance where the owner of the phone just doesn’t have the app he’s looking for on the home screen. In the second instance I’d imagine just sliding the home screen over, or up, to access the camera would be faster.

Maybe squeeze the phone twice real quick to launch the camera?

I may have some doubts about this particular rumored feature, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see it in reality. I want to see what HTC has come up with, and I want to find out if they can sell me on the idea, too. What about you, though? What do you think of this Edge Sense idea? Let me know!

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