Ever since 2014, HTC has been in the habit of publishing its native applications through the Google Play Store so that its phones that share the Camera app, the Lock Screen app and so on can get updates roughly around the same time as each other — this circumvented the need for bothersome firmware updates.
Of course, keeping the apps on the Play Store can pose a challenge sometimes if you’re doing prep work to get a portable service online for a new phone and need to keep said app a secret from the public in the meantime. Unfortunately, the internet is resourceful in catching onto things that are supposed to be secret.
The “HTC Edge Sense” app page on the Google Play Store was online for a short period. It could not be downloaded and there was no description for them — we’re mostly relying on Android Police‘s account of the “event,” here — but it did have five screenshots that showed potential use cases for the app. In this case, it’s squeezing the sides of the device to trigger actions like snapping video and photos, activating Google Assistant or triggering voice dictation for messaging. The HTC U11, which we expect to debut on May 16, is said to have this interface enabled.
The publication of the HTC Edge Sense app also indicates that the company is ready to take this UI and go with it for further devices. Perhaps we might see a little retcon action with the U Ultra and U Play being able to activate similar sensors. We don’t know for sure.