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Squeeze your apps: HTC U11 update brings Edge Sense to all

The HTC U11 has been lauded for its camera, with many professionals agreeing that it is the best currently available on any smartphone.

In addition to an amazing camera, gorgeous design, zippy performance, stunning audio, and reasonable price, the HTC U11 has Edge Sense. Some have stated this was a gimmick and didn’t have much actual utility. However, using it daily convinced me there is value in squeezing your phone to quickly launch your favorite apps or utilities.

With tonight’s update, you will have the power to use Edge Sense technology within apps, in addition to launching apps with a short squeeze or squeeze and hold action. There are some in-app options provided in the update (you can toggle them on or off) and you can add your own actions to virtually every app installed on your phone.

After selecting an app to enhance you can then select up to two actions to be carried out through a short squeeze or a squeeze and hold. First choose one of these actions and then the app will launch. Step one of the setup process requires that you tap the red finger icon and then tap anywhere on the display where you want an action initiated. A pop-up box will appear asking if you want to assign a tap or a double tap. I haven’t yet figured out where to use a double tap in any of my apps so if you come up with something I would love to hear about it.

Update: A reader sent me an email and informed me you can set up the double-tap action to “like” a photo on Instagram so there is at least one action worth setting up with Edge Sense.

After that you can setup the second action or move on to setting up more in-app actions. You can always go back and remove or edit actions if they are not working as you intended. I’ve only had a couple of days to test out this beta program, but have the following setup and in use on my HTC U11:

  • Google Maps: Short squeeze to zoom in on a map and squeeze and hold to enable traffic
  • Calendar: Short squeeze to show/hide month and squeeze and hold to create a new item
  • Google Photos: Short squeeze to zoom in on a photo
  • Wunderlist: Short squeeze to open my ZDNet review list
  • Starbucks: Short squeeze to tap the bottom right pay button
  • Rachio: Short squeeze to turn on manual sprinkler mode

One cool thing I discovered is that repeating the same squeeze action within an app will continue to “tap” the display in the same location. With this functionality I was able to open my Starbucks app, short squeeze once to open the pay button and then short squeeze again to select pay from the list of order, reload, and pay.

It will be interesting to see how far HTC takes Edge Sense, but it is encouraging to see this type of global app support roll out within just a few months of launch. This beta feature should be available to all HTC U11 owners tonight at 12am (midnight) Eastern in the Google Play Store.

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