While initial reports — including one from VentureBeat — had suggested that the HTC U11 (debuting tomorrow, May 16) would feature a touch-sensitive frame thanks to the widely seen concept video shown below, that functionality is absent from the final product. Instead, the company’s 2017 flagship handset boasts a frame that is merely pressure-sensitive, or squeezable, according to a briefed individual.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 20, 2016
HTC has been alluding to this capability in a series of short videos on a teaser website for the past month.
The person briefed on the company’s plans likened the input method to so-called force touch screens, which are capable of detecting different levels of applied pressure. The U11 enables the user to trigger different events based on the strength of the squeeze.
By default, the U11 is preset to respond to a short squeeze by launching the camera app, and then to a second one by capturing an image once it loads. But the briefed individual noted that HTC is expected to release an app post-launch that enables users to map macro actions to the various squeeze patterns.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 8, 2017
Still, the lack of of a touch-sensitive frame may disappoint fans of that erroneously published concept video — and a later faux commercial in the same vein (seen above) — who may have been expecting the device codenamed Ocean to respond to a variety of swipes and taps alongside the squeezes.
On the other hand, a non-touch-sensitive frame let the company include traditional power and volume buttons on the phone’s sides, and will make it easier — though not completely frictionless — to pick out and utilize a case for it.
HTC will livestream the launch event, and may offer the phone for sale within a week of its debut.