Someone’s got an itchy trigger finger at HTC, because a companion Edge Sense app for the HTC U 11 briefly appeared on the Google Play app store, before getting pulled again. It’s designed to walk users through what could be this phone’s most distinctive feature.
Based on a variety of leaks we’ve seen up until this point, we’re expecting Edge Sense (or maybe Sense Touch) to introduce a new way of interacting with your phone: squeezing and scrolling the sides of your handset to navigate around. It’s even teased on HTC’s official press event invite.
Before the app disappeared from view Android Police managed to grab some screenshots. It looks like it will take you through the process of testing your squeeze strength, then show off some of the ways you can use this new input method: taking photos, sending messages, launching Google Assistant, and so on.
Squeeze frame action
A pressure-sensitive frame would help HTC stand out in what’s already a very competitive market as far as 2017 phone launches go. There’s the added bonus of being able to interact with your phone without obscuring the screen, though we’ll have to wait to test the phone to see exactly how well it works.
What we can’t see in any of these screenshots are the Edge Sense options, so it’s not clear how you’ll be able to configure it or what else it can do – presumably you can slide as well as squeeze to navigate menus, adjust the volume and so on, but that’s to be confirmed.
We’re expecting to see a 5.5-inch, 1440 x 2560 display when the phone is finally unveiled on Tuesday, as well as a Snapdragon 835 chipset and as much as 6GB of RAM powering everything under the hood. We’ve collected all the most recent rumors for you here.
Google may strike me down, but I’m going to say it anyway: Some of the best Android apps I’ve used come from Microsoft. I’d even go so far as to say that as an Android developer, Microsoft has done what it couldn’t with its own mobile platform—actually make you a Microsoft phone. (Microsoft has in fact given up on making phones, shuttering the Nokia division and dialing back the announcements on Windows 10 Mobile.)
If you use a Windows PC, there’s ample reason to explore the company’s suite of apps and services, as it can streamline the work you do between the desktop and your mobile device. It’s not yet nearly as smooth as what Apple offers between the Mac and iOS, but Cortana and some other Windows 10 tools can make the experience pretty seamless.
Goodbye Google, hello Cortana
The most critical piece of the link between the desktop and mobile is Cortana. Like the Google Assistant, Microsoft envisions Cortana as your intelligent digital assistant who answers questions and guides you through your day.
To get started, grab the Cortana app from the Play Store. It’ll walk you through the process of replacing the Google Assistant when you long-press the home button on your Android device.
Then, head to Settings > Assist & Voice Input. Next, touch Assist app and select Cortana. Now you can launch Cortana with a long-press on the home button.
Cortana is built to be conversational, much the same way you’d interact on Windows 10 with ”Hey Cortana” functionality. Cortana’s helpfulness mirrors much of what Google’s Assistant provides. You can monitor your sports teams, make shopping lists, get commute updates, schedule alerts, and glean important tidbits about the weather.