HTC will literally be putting the squeeze on its rivals after unveiling its new U11 smartphone which includes a brand-new way to interact with the device called Edge Sense.
Users simply squeeze the bottom half of the U11 to trigger things like camera shutter control, app functionality and countless other shortcuts.
The HTC U11 was unveiled a global event at the company’s headquarters in Taipei.
HTC designers realised the way smartphone users grip their phones on either side of the screen could be used to get things done.
For example, when we take a photo our fingers are usually holding the device in our hands on either side of the screen.
Now imagine being able to take a photo just by applying a little more pressure where your fingers already are.
Well, imagine no more – that’s exactly what HTC’s new U11 will offer.
It has also made taking selfies easier than ever before.
Part of the challenge of taking a good selfie is trying to reach the shutter key on the screen.
But now with the HTC U11, all you need to do is squeeze.
Edge Sense can be adjusted to not only respond to various levels of pressure but to also complete other tasks with the device.
The U11 responds to both short and long squeezes of the Edge Sense panels located on either side of the screen but not visible to the user.
This new interaction can be used to open apps, trigger Google Assistant and execute various other commands.
The HTC U11 has a 5.5 inch quad HD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and is protected by 3D Corning Gorilla Glass.
HTC once again brings its impressive liquid surface design to the device in a number of stunning colours.
The product is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 64-bit octa-core processor that runs at speeds of up to 2.45GHz.
The device is also water resistant with an IP67 rating.
And the U11 is running the latest Android 7.1.1 operating system alongside the HTC Sense user interface.
HTC’s U11 also brings to the table an impressive camera, stunning audio quality and an AI companion which gets to know you and your daily habits.
The 12-megapixel Ultra-Pixel has fast auto-focus in all lighting conditions and optical image stabilisation to ensure your pictures are sharp and videos are smooth as silk.
HTC smartphone cameras are one of the highest rated by independent testers at DxOMark but the U11 has broken through and scored 90 – the highest ever given for a smartphone camera.
But it adds more features including HDR Boost for a more dynamic exposure range along with new white balance enhancement and noise reduction.
The front camera has 16-megapixel resolution and adds Ultra-Pixel light sensitivity and the same HDR Boost and noise reduction of the main camera to make your selfies look better than ever.
When shooting video, the HTC U11 also delivers with four optimally positioned microphones to capture 360-degrees of sound as well as Acoustic Focus so you can zoom in on a subject to amplify their sound.
One of the really impressive features of the HTC U11 is the audio quality.
On board the device is the latest version of HTC’s USonic which can be tuned to the user’s unique way of listening.
This technology maps your inner ear and creates a sound profile unique to you so you hear optimised audio quality.
Also onboard the device is active noise cancellation which works through the included earphones that connect through the USB-C port.
What you won’t find is a headphone jack.
And even if you want to hear your music through the phone’s speakers you’ll hear an improvement there as well thanks to the enhanced BoomSound speakers.
HTC Sense Companion is like your personal digital assistant which can make your daily life even easier and more convenient by offering reminders, weather forecasts, estimated time of arrival and even restaurant recommendations.
The HTC U11 will go on sale in June and pricing is yet to be announced.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to Taipei as a guest of HTC