Google’s answer to 3D Touch is destined to fail

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Google Pixel phone family
Google's next Pixel phones will be squeezable.
Photo: Google

Google’s next-generation Pixel smartphones will finally give pure Android lovers an alternative to the iPhone’s 3D Touch. But it won’t be anywhere near as good.

Instead of using pressure-sensitive displays like Apple, the company is said to be ripping off the new HTC U11’s squeezable edges.

That’s right — the HTC U11 has a body that you can literally squeeze to perform different actions. You can use it to zoom into maps and photos, to answer and end calls, to silence alarms, to switch views in the Calendar app, and more.

According to a source familiar with Google’s plans, who has been speaking to XDA Developers, Google will bring the same feature to its upcoming Pixel 2 smartphones. One of its functions will be to launch the Google Assistant, and it’ll work even when the phone is asleep.

It’s certainly a unique answer to 3D Touch, but it won’t be anywhere near as good. Apple’s solution does so much more, and because it can be used anywhere on the iPhone’s display, it’s more precise. You have different actions and shortcuts depending on where you press.

It’s not clear why Apple’s biggest rivals haven’t ripped off 3D Touch. If you make a conscious effort to use it, it’s terrific, and you’ll eventually wonder how you ever lived without it. But pressure-sensitive displays are difficult to manufacture, so that could explain it.

In addition to its squeezable edges, the Pixel 2 is expected to offer new OLED displays manufactured by LG Display, and Google’s new Android O operating system. Recent rumors have claimed they will get their official unveiling in October.

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  • Louie Campagna

    Charmin Phone

  • kashtrey

    Ugh, way to frame an argument just to put the iPhone out ahead. The whole squeeze thing and 3D touch are apples and oranges. The alternative Google has to 3D touch is really just a long press, which has most of the same functionally but isn’t as seamless.

    • racerhomie

      And is MUCH slower.
      You can use long press on non 3D touch devices on iOS 11.
      But it is much slower

      • thecoolkid

        Actually the time it takes to hard press the display is almost as long as touching and waiting. We’re talking 100ms tops. Wow, much slower…

      • racerhomie

        No I have used both 3D touch gestures on the Lock Screen feels MUCH faster with 3D touch devices.Plus on some games & apps it works well too, no alternatives for that

      • thecoolkid

        I think you just had a bad experience. In Android you can set how long you have to wait before the touch is registered as long touch. Set it lower and it’s a non-issue

      • TypicalAndroidFan

        In Android it takes much longer. With 3D Touch, the response is immediate.

      • racerhomie

        Yeah ,I would rather have Actual 3D touch

  • Ondrej Nekola

    Bullshit. Completely different thing to solve a completely different issue…

    • TypicalAndroidFan

      Bullshit. Similar solution to similar problem.

      • Ondrej Nekola

        HTC squeeze – a way how to fast launch one two predefined actions in a given context. To add a new programmable button would do a similar thing.

        Force touch – a fancy way how to launch a context specific action in a specific place in GUI.

  • tonny_m

    ‘It’s not clear why Apple’s biggest rivals haven’t ripped off 3D Touch’ for me it’s pretty clear, making it right requires great control over hardware and software, this is the advantege that can’t be just copied. I’m personally so used to 3D Touch that I couldn’t use a phone without it.

  • Shane C.

    So, when you say “the company is said to be ripping off the new HTC U11’s squeezable edges.”, you actually mean “the company is said to be implementing the new HTC U11’s squeezable edges.”, right? Since, you know, HTC is reportedly making the new Pixel so they can’t rip off their own feature…oh, and no one in their right mind would think this was their answer the 3D Touch…great article /s

  • Name goes here

    Both are gimmicks. Wish Apple would drop the 3D Touch nonsense.