The HTC U11 is an awesome phone, but the touted "Edge Sense" feature for performing actions by squeezing your phone hasn't exactly been the feature that's driving sales. Hopefully that will change today. With an update that's rolling out now, U11 owners will be able to further customize Edge Sense to perform specific actions in specific apps — in addition to the current slate of basic phone-level functions.
Basically, HTC now lets you map either a short or long squeeze on the sides of the phone to a tap or double tap on a location on the screen you specify. But the function can be mapped on a per-app basis, so you have a serious number of customization options available. For example you can set a squeeze in Google Maps zoom in on the map, in Google Photos launch the share function, to launch voice typing on the keyboard or in Chrome select the address bar.
The interface for getting it set up is a bit clunky mostly because it has to be. Because Edge Sense is effectively just translating your squeeze into a specific tap, you go through each app you want to enable the function on and just tell the interface where to tap. You then name that function however you want so that it can be easily read in the Edge Sense settings. You'll see something like "Short squeeze to zoom in on a photo, squeeze and hold to share" in the settings under the app it's associated with.
People aren't going to set up dozens of custom squeeze actions, but it makes sense for some apps.
It's hard to see every U11 owner going in and setting up distinct squeeze functions for dozens of apps, but it definitely makes sense to spend the few minutes to make some for your most-used functions in apps. Squeezing to zoom in on Maps, compose a tweet or open a search field can be very useful — provided you eventually remember what the function is over time.
For those who haven't set up custom squeeze actions, are on the home screen, have the screen off, or are using an app that hasn't been customized, Edge Sense will continue to work as expected. You can still use the basic squeeze to launch the camera, for example.
One of the coolest parts about this new feature expansion is that it doesn't require a major software update — you just have to wait for the Edge Sense app to update from the Play Store. The update is rolling out soon, and every U11 owner can get in on it by just heading to the Edge Sense settings after updating the app.
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