The Google Pixel 2 and the bigger Pixel 2 XL are expected to be here later this year, probably in October or maybe earlier.
We’ve heard just about every other story about the phone, be it a new design with thinner bezels, a possible departure from the traditional 3.5mm audio jack and lately, we are hearing something to do with a squeezable frame.
Having a squeezable frame would mean Google Pixel 2 users will be able to exert different amounts of pressure on the sides to launch a certain app or access a given functionality. Basically, it’s more of the same thing that Apple does with 3D Touch display, but this one is coming to the edges. It’s better to think of it as an additional button that is meant to add more functionality to the phone, much like what HTC is already doing with the U11.
In fact, the HTC U11 is the first phone to come with a squeezable frame, where one can exert varying amounts of pressure to do different things like opening the camera or any other app. The functionality is customizable and allows users to calibrate the amount of pressure needed to activate a given feature, which is kind of cool.
At the moment, it’s hard to say whether the Google Pixel 2 or rather Pixel 2 XL will follow the same implementation. However, reports about the feature claim that the squeezable frame will be handy when opening things like the Google Assistant, which is an innovative way of doing it as opposed to Apple’s or Samsung’s dedicated buttons for launching Siri or Bixby assistants, respectively, which is kind of too mainstream.
A new report from XDA Developers also claims that the squeezable frame will launch the Google Assistant even if the screen is turned off. Usually, pressing the volume button sends an incoming call into silent mode, but according to this report, the Google Pixel 2 XL will depend on this squeezable frame to get this job done.
With all these happening so fast, it leads to the question: are squeezable phones the next big thing in the smartphone market?
As noted, the HTC U11 is the first to come up with this technology. One problem, though, is that HTC has lost ground in the smartphone market and people no longer see the Taiwanese company as a serious contender in the flagship market. With this in mind, it’s easy for this innovative U11 feature to go unnoticed, but with the same appearing on the Google Pixel 2, there’s no doubt that other major names will start jumping in.
As you may have noticed, the new trend this 2017 is thinner bezels for flagship phones. This is happening because OEMs want to increase the display size without compromising on the physical size of the phone. It is for this reason rumors claim the Google Pixel 2 XL will be about the same physical size as the current Pixel, yet packing a mammoth 6-inch screen size. The removal of physical buttons on the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8 has also meant the phone has just about the same physical size as the Galaxy S7, but with a screen size that is 0.7 inches bigger.
As smartphone OEMs push towards this new design, having another option to turn to when they eliminate physical buttons, more so an option like squeezable frames, could be very interesting. Whether it’s giving your phone another dimension as far as navigation is concerned or simply an option to turn to instead of using physical buttons, squeezable frames seem to have found their place in the future of smartphones and they’re probably here to stay.
What are your thoughts on the future of squeezable frames on smartphones? Let us know in your comments below.