We like to think of “common sense” as something everyone has, but I was told years ago that not everyone has it. That proves true on one level, though, for innovation in tech is a matter of common sense. Consumers that invest in mobile devices year in and year out expect companies to take the money they’ve invested and bring them the latest, greatest, and best to the market.
Plastering your brand name on a phone that looks practically the same for five years straight doesn’t qualify as innovation in any sense, and, as a consumer, turns me off. Innovation doesn’t turn me off, but mere iteration and imitation do.
Well, this “common sense” found in the tech world has yet to dawn on everyone. If you deem this statement harsh, just take a look at a few companies in Android (I’ll let your brain run wild with this one) that have pretty much done the same thing every year for the last few years.
Their phones may have sleek, metal designs – but that’s all that’s good about them. Their phones may even run fast without the slightest hint of lag – but their software puts the “b” in “bland” and “boring.” Some of these phones are half the cost of the Galaxy S7 edge, but they lack the originality and R&D work Samsung has implemented. You can always find a smartphone that has one noteworthy advantage, but few can find a Galaxy S7 edge rival that has the deadly combination of factors that have made the S7 edge the worldwide favorite. Smartphones cannot be rated great by one feature alone.
When it comes to the nomenclature of the S7 edge, though, Samsung gave it a name that would match its stand-out design. But few could ever have seen the Galaxy S7 edge attract competition because of its functionality. That seems to be the case for one Android OEM who has decided that it, too, wants to live on the edge as well with an upcoming, high-end premium device.
The HTC Ocean Note with its integrated stylus didn’t arrive on the market in January per HTC’s announcement, but a new device in the wings is said to contain an Edge Panel setup competitor. New leaks show a device running Android 7.1.1 Nougat containing a UI called “Edge Sense,” or, as leakster Upleak says, may be called “Sense Touch” when finalized, with the device on the February 2017 security patch. The Edge Sense is located in the Phone section right above “Display, gestures & buttons” and the usual HTC BoomSound settings.
We know little about Edge Sense, except to say that you can set it up – which means that there’s likely some customization involved. We do know the specs Upleaks provides, though: a 5.5-inch display (no resolution supplied, though we can assume Quad HD due to its high-end nature), 4GB/6GB RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, Sense AI Assistant, USB Type-C charging, and mobile VR support. No battery size is supplied here, though HTC should boost the 3,000mAh battery of last year’s 10 for such a high-powered device in light of VR support, at least.
While Edge Sense is not unique to HTC, the name of its upcoming UI could be. After all, when you think about it, it’s all too easy to maintain the same look and feel of devices these days. And yet, companies that do tend to fade into obscurity. Despite Sony’s excellence in the gaming and camera sectors, the company once known for its durable smartphones is no longer the household name that it was. And HTC, once at the forefront of Android, finds itself in terrible financial peril. It takes common sense to see that companies have to change with a changing tech industry and changing consumer demand.
When it comes to the edge, Samsung’s admirers and critics alike often tend to downplay functionality over form: the beauty of the edge is what many consumers look at, but to do this is to overlook Samsung’s own intention. The edge is not about mere form alone, but showcases the integration of form and functionality, of hardware and software, when they work well together. This is what I call Edge Sense, to borrow HTC’s upcoming UI name.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge shows Samsung’s common sense as an industry giant who didn’t rest on its laurels until the rest of the industry discovered the futuristic design and functionality. And HTC didn’t wait until everyone else overwhelmingly adopted it to move forward with what will be the design and functionality trend of the future (yes, even bigger than AI). Yes, HTC has moved forward with Edge Sense – common sense that looks to compete in a market that wants to “think outside the box” of traditional smartphone design.
The existence of Edge Sense shows that Samsung is truly an industry mover and shaker: its design is not the only thing catching these days. And HTC’s upcoming UI testifies to that fact. The real icing on the cake is to see other OEMs follow. And as companies are already adopting form, it’s only a matter of time before functionality follows.
Edge Sense is not only the name of the upcoming HTC UI, it’s the mindset of the future.