The upcoming HTC U could reportedly feature a new type of interface which enables people to interact with their handset by squeezing it, according to VentureBeat.
Industry leaker, Evan Blass, provided this inside information on the soon to be announced flagship, which will apparently make use of touch sensors built into its body to allow inputs to be made.
This fits in with earlier leaks which referred to the ‘Sense Touch’ system being developed by the Taiwanese manufacturer, moving towards an age when physical buttons of all types are entirely eliminated from smartphones.
Even with some modern devices doing away with the home button and front-mounted physical inputs, the sides of most smartphones still feature things like volume rockers and power buttons. By adding touch sensitivity instead, it could be possible for the HTC U to have a much cleaner design by comparison with its rivals.
This is a fairly minor innovation, but one which could be influential if it proves to be true. The HTC U is expected to sport a 5.5 inch screen, the latest Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm and an impressive set of cameras to give it excellent photographic capabilities in an already snap-happy market.
Apple has added a new colour option to its family of flagship smartphones this month, with the new red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus editions hitting the UK alongside the five existing colours, including jet black and rose gold.
Interestingly, Apple is only selling red versions of the iPhone 7 with either 128GB or 256GB of storage onboard, according to Tech Radar. This means getting the cheapest 32GB iPhone model in a new hue is not an option.
It could well be that the Californian firm is trying to convince customers to spend a little more and embrace higher levels of storage on their smartphones to avoid having to constantly reshuffle data as their device gets fuller. This may also hint at a future in which the base model iPhone comes with more space as standard.
The iPhone 7 has a few more months in the sun before its replacement is unveiled, although rumours about what the next iPhone will offer are numerous and often conflicting, leaving a confusing picture about what people can expect. The red iteration is a nice mid-life boost which should help sales and take on some of the colourful spirit embodied by the now archaic iPhone 5C.
The next version of the Android operating system has been unveiled this week, with Google’s previous food-oriented naming scheme ditched in favour of something a little simpler. Known as Android O, the platform is being rolled out to developers so that they can tinker with it ahead of the full release later this year.
A number of improvements are promised by this platform, including a feature designed to increase battery life by keeping tabs on what processes are running in the background and managing them more efficiently, according to Tech Radar.
Google’s engineers are also adding a picture-in-picture capability, meaning that users can keep video files playing when they are also using other apps and services simultaneously, boosting the multitasking capabilities.
Users will be given more control over notifications, enabling them to customise the experience and put some alerts on pause so that they can recur later when there is time to deal with them.
Support for improved Bluetooth connectivity hints at a time when headphone sockets are no longer a standard expected on smartphones, which is unfortunate news given that Apple has already ditched the 3.5mm socket and now Android phones look set to follow suit.
A new affordable entry in the Xperia range has been announced this week by Sony, with the L1 intending to sit at a lower price point than flagship models.
The good news is that the Xperia L1 does not skimp on the screen, as it sports a 5.5 inch panel with a solid if uninspired 720p resolution. This gives it the same display area as the iPhone 7 Plus, albeit with fewer pixels on offer.
A 13 megapixel camera is found on the back, while a front-facing five megapixel snapper is a nice touch for selfie fans. With a 2620mAh battery on board there may be concerns about how long the L1 can last between charges, but some intelligent tech means that the charging experience itself should be quicker and more efficient than usual.
A quad core chipset from MediaTek is matched with 2GB of RAM, meaning that while the L1 will not offer blazing performance it should handle Android Nougat and any apps fairly smoothly. Integrated storage sits at a somewhat meagre 16GB, but there is a microSD memory card slot to add some much needed expandability, making this mid range Xperia model one to watch when it is released next month.
Samsung could be on the brink of unveiling the world’s first ever smartphone which can be flexed and even folded back on itself, according to Tech Radar.
The device, which is known by the name of the Galaxy X, is only set to emerge as a prototype later this year, but could point towards a future in which all smartphones are equally malleable.
Samsung is already the master of the curved mobile display, with the Galaxy Edge range embracing this technology and this year’s Galaxy S8 flagship rumoured to sport a similar feature on all models. But true flexibility can only be achieved if every other component is also capable of transcending rigidity.
Foldable smartphones should be much more hard-wearing than current models, at least in theory. Screen size should also no longer be a limiting factor, opening up new possibilities in terms of device design and practicality.
The unveiling of the Galaxy X is pegged to take place in September or October, although since these are industry rumours rather than Samsung’s official plans, there is a chance that this might change. The South Korean firm has reportedly been showing off the tech behind this mobile to insiders already, so a 2017 launch seems likely.