htc ocean

Our favorite leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks) is at it again, this time bringing us a video showcasing a project that HTC has been working on. It’s called Ocean, and it appears to use contextual, side-located user interfaces that let you perform a variety of tasks simply by touching the side of your device.

The side-mounted touch-sensitive regions let you do anything from summon “OK Google,” adjust your volume, or snap photos. It’s interesting, because these panels seem to have replaced the volume buttons entirely, and the power button appears to have been relocated to the bottom of the device.

Now, this could go a couple of different ways, and we’re not even sure if such a device will actually make it to the market. However, if it does, this could accomplish what Samsung’s ‘edge’ capabilities have only sort-of succeeded in. “Intuitive” is the watchword here, and for many users, Samsung’s edge panel is activated by accident at least as often as it is on purpose.

Which brings us to the other way that this could go: total crash and burn. It seems like an excellent idea to put controls on the side of the device, that way your fingers aren’t blocking the view of the screen as you interact with it. However, the problem is that, well, we hold our devices by the side. HTC will have to employ some pretty intelligent software that will be able to distinguish between accidental and deliberate touches with near perfect accuracy.

What do you think of HTC’s side-mounted touch panels? Way of the future or a meaningless gimmick? Let us know your take in the comments below!

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