The Edge Sense functionality of the HTC U11 will soon be able to launch Alexa, Amazon’s artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, with the Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recently updating its HTC Edge Sense Android app with support for the digital companion. The client-side update to the app started rolling out on the Google Play Store on Friday and will presumably be available for download worldwide in the coming days. While the new build of HTC Edge Sense already presents you with the “Launch HTC Alexa” option when you try to customize a pressure-sensitive action, initial reports suggest that the feature still isn’t working. It’s unclear whether that’s due to a bug or if HTC has to accompany its new app version with a server-side switch, though the Taoyuan-based company didn’t elaborate on the matter as of this writing. Apart from shipping with supposed support for Alexa, the new version of the HTC Edge Sense app also sports a redesigned feedback animation that’s said to be more responsive than the previous one. Refer to the video beneath this writing to see how the latest revision of the service works in practice.
Initially introduced in May, the Edge Sense feature of the HTC U11 was meant to support the Google Assistant, HTC Companion, and Alexa at launch, though the consumer electronics manufacturer ultimately delayed the implementation of Amazon’s digital companion for unknown reasons. The Edge Sense functionality is advertised as one of the main selling points of the HTC U11, with the flagship boasting pressure-sensitive edges that can be squeezed in order to act as shortcuts for certain software actions. Consumer opinions on the feature vary, though the phone itself is reportedly doing much better than its predecessor did, indicating that the Edge Sense functionality may have helped it stand out from the competition.
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HTC’s mobile unit has been struggling in recent years, with a number of its phones including the 2016 HTC 10 failing to achieve significant commercial success. That state of affairs may have prompted the company to start experimenting with its devices in a more aggressive manner, leading to the introduction of the rather unconventional Edge Sense. An update on the company’s hardware efforts may follow later this year.
— Chengming Alpert (@ChengmingAlpert) July 13, 2017