Google’s next Pixel phones could come with one big gimmicky feature

Image: Dustin Drankoski/mashable

We just got what is likely our first good look at Google’s next Pixel XL and it could have one big gimmicky feature.

The new image, which comes to us via Android Police, shows a handset that looks pretty similar to what Google launched last year.

There are a couple noticeable changes, though, including a larger rear-facing camera (notice how it’s not a dual-lens setup) and a much slimmer bezel on the front of the display.

But Android Police reports the LG-made phone will also ship with one big new feature and, well, it’s pretty gimmicky. The upcoming flagship will sport the same “squeezeable” frame technology as HTC’s new U 11, according to the blog.

What that means is the sides of the phone will be pressure sensitive so that you can trigger certain actions, like calling up Google Assistant, simply by squeezing the outside of the phone. It’s not clear if this will work exactly the same on the Pixel as it does on the U11, but on the U 11 you can set different shortcuts for different types of squeezes.

A quick squeeze, for example, could take a screenshot, while a longer one could call up the Google Assistant. If that sounds weird, that’s because it is. But at the same time, it’s not a completely pointless feature, even if it’s a gimmicky one.

Or, as Mashable’s senior tech correspondent Ray Wong said after spending some time with the U 11: “It’s a gimmick, but it’s a somewhat natural and practical one, and if you don’t like it you can turn it off.”

Google is expected to launch the next generation of its Pixel phones later this year.

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