This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature.

HTC Mauritius

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Welcome back to Design Story, where we share how your favorite products are designed and created. Following on the release of the HTC 10, this time we’re looking at an innovative accessory designed specifically for HTC’s flagship phone: the HTC Ice View case.

As the HTC 10 took shape in our design labs, we took inspiration from our award-winning HTC Dot View Case to create the perfect accessory for the new flagship phone—Ice View, a stylish protective flip case with a solid fit. It accentuates the phone’s design and advances novel methods of interacting with everyday information.

As a protector, the Ice View’s thin frosted front repels nicks and scratches when the phone is in a pocket or bag, but is translucent enough to reveal the phone’s screen. When the cover is closed, an array of information—notifications, battery status, music controls, alarms, incoming phone calls, weather and more—are rendered in a clear, visible way unique to Ice View. And because the cover is touch-sensitive, the owner can act on that information immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials Matter

At the beginning of the design process, we started with the idea of the entire phone covered in a soft, protective material. This form would safeguard the phone’s screen, but also allow interaction using a unique visual effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking advantage of a new TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) construction method, we were able to realize our vision and create the illusion of a second skin, while providing necessary quality and durability. A key aspect of this was controlling the material thickness of the case in several areas. The sidewalls are thicker to offer protection where it’s most needed, and the bulk of the back surface has been reduced to a minimum, carefully maintaining the design language of the HTC 10. The metal HTC logo in the lower corner of the cover enhances the premium feel of the product, but also conceals the discrete magnetic interaction with the phone.

“Ice View feels as if the whole phone has been submerged in a protective layer, almost like a frozen block of ice,” said Mathias Hintermann, industrial designer.

To achieve the best aesthetics and functional performance, the design team spent a great deal of time exploring and refining the color of Ice View. Once a color palette was selected, we fine-tuned the material properties and textures to get the right balance of frost and feel. While the texture on the back needed to be soft and inviting, the front needed to let one’s finger slide smoothly to interact with the device. This frosted appearance of the material gave the case its Ice View name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design for a Different Context

At first glance, the clean, borderless design of the modern and minimal graphics adds an element of surprise and a refreshed new aspect to the phone. Like its predecessor, the HTC Dot View case, Ice View takes advantage of the unique hardware and software interaction afforded by the properties of the case. When the cover is closed (as sensed by the magnetic connection between the phone and the HTC logo), edge-to-edge graphics reveal essential information in an easily-understood design language.

The new borderless real estate challenged the design team to harmonize the interplay of all elements, such as the iconography and typography, throughout each screen and notification. The clean and minimal graphic design, from fonts to symbols, was specifically tailored to be legible and correctly proportioned when viewed through the case’s frosted front.

That holistic design of both graphic and hardware enables Ice View’s signature interactions. The touch-sensitive flip cover allows the owner to immediately respond to notifications and calls, control music playback and even quick-launch the camera and capture a snapshot. The cover becomes an extension of the screen itself, with the flexibility to accommodate future motion gestures and displays of information.

The Ice View case is an evolution of both industrial design and user experience. It opens the door to develop more motion gestures, playful applications of CMF (color, materials and finishes), surface explorations and customized themes for future products.


 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve almost certainly heard the statement that our phones are making us dumber. This claim has been (and continues to be) researched by reputable institutions around the globe since smartphones became popular, and so far, well, the results are mixed. While our phone habits seem to have impacted our attention span and memories, there’s also evidence that we benefit from having easy access to more information than ever before.

Regardless of what the research says, smartphones are deeply integrated into our lives today, and that probably won’t change soon. So rather than be crushed that these technological wonders might be hurting us, let’s spin it around – if you use your phone in the best ways for you, it can be helpful, useful, and might even make you a bit smarter. Keep reading to get a few ideas about how you can use your phone to boost your brainpower.

Learn New Things

We have unprecedented access to all sorts of information about an endless number of topics. On top of that, online learning is having its moment in the spotlight and you can easily take courses on subjects you’ve always wanted to learn more about, and for very little money. Want to make the most of your phone? Get started learning! We’ve made a few suggestions here of apps to download to learn, make and do.

Put Your Energy to Better Use

One of the great things about having a smartphone is having the ability to create and store notes, manage your calendar, make plans, and do all those things that help you be more efficient. Take advantage of those features to redirect your energy to the things that matter most to you. Even doing things like using the timer on your phone’s clock widget to set work cycles for yourself can streamline your day and help you focus. And creating to-do and other tracking lists can help free up space in your mind so you can fully focus on whatever is in front of you.

Customize Customize Customize

Notifications. You probably know what I’m going to say next. While the dopamine rush we get from seeing a notification pop up from Facebook or Instagram is fun, constantly receiving notifications about items that can wait (they really can, promise) is far more distracting than you’d think.

When you download new apps, take the time to check Notification settings immediately after downloading, and adjust them appropriately. For many of us, receiving text and email notifications is really all we need. Put the effort into making sure any interruptions you receive are truly worth the distraction.

Get Some Sleep

A large portion of us keep our smartphones nearby at all times, including when we sleep. And yes, sometimes mindlessly scrolling through social networks can be relaxing. But it’s well-known that looking at device screens (including computers and tablets) too soon before bed can impact our sleep patterns. To add to that, many of us pick up our phones if we wake up in the middle of the night, to.

So for one week, try to put your phone down at least a half-hour before you go to bed and leave it outside your bedroom. Pay attention to how you’re feeling as the week passes and, when it’s over, assess whether or not your sleep has improved as a result of this change. It can help you to mentally adjust by setting No Device hours for yourself.

And consider downloading an app like Twilight that will apply a blue light filter (the most sleep damaging type of light) to your device screen after a certain time.

Put Your Phone Away

We at HTC obviously love phones, but there is a time and place for them. Some research says that just being able to see your phone, whether it’s blinking notifications at you or not, is a distraction. When it’s time to really get to work, or spend time with a loved one, or sink into a good book, put your phone away. Tuck it into a drawer or put it in your purse or briefcase and leave it there. It might be difficult to do at first, and probably just as distracting as having it out in the open, but you will get used to it and feel more present in whatever you’re doing.

Trust us, we know these suggestions aren’t all easy to put into practice. But the truth is that these devices that play such a big role in our lives today can make us smarter if we use them smartly.

Tell us, how do you manage your smartphone use?


Earlier this year we elevated our smartphone game with the side-squeezing power of Edge Sense, which has become one of the highest rated apps on the Google Play store. Because innovation never rests, we’re making Edge Sense even more one-handed friendly by making it compatible with your favorite apps.

With the original Edge Sense, you could quickly launch an app or snap a photo with just a squeeze. Now you can use Edge Sense as an alternative to tap or double tap features within your favorite apps. To make things even better, you can assign a short and long squeeze command to more than one app. Squeezes will also work simultaneously inside multiple apps, so you can quickly switch between apps and still use Edge Sense on the fly.

If you’re already using Edge Sense to snap photos or switch between front and rear cameras, now you can also do that using the Instagram and Facebook cameras. You can squeeze to zoom-in on Google Maps. You can play and pause music with a squeeze when your music is playing in the background, even if your screen is off. In fact, the newest Edge Sense can support any music app that follows Android’s music control standard.

With this update we’re pre-loading options for 6 popular apps, but more advanced users can utilize our easy-to-use interface to customize functions for your favorite apps. Each particular app’s unique design will determine how the Edge Sense feature works.

The Edge Sense update is available to all HTC U11s via the Play Store. The update is an opt-in program that will continue to grow as we look to perfect this experience. It’s also a chance for you to provide your feedback so we can continue to incorporate and refine the features that you want. We hope you have fun experimenting with the latest Edge Sense, and we look forward to your feedback to make it even better. Go ahead and give it a squeeze!