Concept video from HTC designer shows dual-camera phone with touch-sensitive frame.
It's not often we get an early look at a phone maker prototyping features for an upcoming handset, but that, it seems, what we have here. First spotted by Evan Blass, the personal site of HTC motion designer Danelle Vermeulen was recently updated with a sizzle reel showing "HTC Ocean," a phone with dual rear cameras that looks like a cross between an HTC 10 and a Google Pixel. The focus of the video: A new feature called "Sense Touch," which apparently lets you use touch-sensitive areas of the outer frame to perform certain actions in apps.
The video is described on Vermeulen's site as "a great example of a typical project within HTC; a quick turnaround creating a sizzle reel as an answer to a call to pitch a conceptual idea for CEO buy-in."
It introduces the device as "Ocean with Sense Touch," demonstrating how a touch or swipe on the outer frame can activate certain features. From the home screen, a tap on the right edge appears to activate Google's voice-based assistant.
A swipe on the same spot in a music app changes the volume. Later parts of the video show the bezel of the display lighting up as voice commands are activated, though it's not clear whether this is intended to be a feature of the phone, or just a bit of visual flair for the video.
Change volume levels, adjust exposure or launch specific apps by tapping or swiping the side of the phone.
As for the phone itself, it's also unclear whether this design is based on any possible future HTC phone, or whether it's a generic stand-in for the purpose of the video. The lack of any HTC branding (or buttons for that matter — though maybe that's the point of Sense Touch!), suggests we perhaps shouldn't read too much into it. Then again, the design is far from generic, with HTC 10-style chamfers, the aforementioned dual-camera setup and a stylized USB port down below. So who knows.
It's also worth noting that "Ocean," if it is anything beyond a concept, is most likely a codename and not anything that's supposed to be public-facing.
So will we ever see Sense Touch in a future HTC phone? We're left guessing at this point, and we'd hesitate to read too much into what's probably just a pitch video for higher-ups at the Taiwanese company. For what it's worth, other parts of the designer's site are littered with wacky phone concepts, and lifestyle photos showing at least one of HTC's aborted tablet designs.
But an HTC 11 where the entire frame of the device is basically a touchpad? That sounds pretty neat to us.
Would you like to see a feature like Sense Touch in a future HTC phone? Hit the comments and let us know!