The idea of weighing something with your smartphone used to be the stuff of joke apps and broken screens, but Huawei has proved it's possible. On stage at IFA in Berlin, the company used the pressure-sensitive Force Touch technology in its new Mate S smartphone to weigh an orange. It might sound slightly surreal (and it was), but the demonstration got by far the biggest cheer of the event from the crowd. Perhaps in part because Huawei might have just stolen a march on Apple, which introduced Force Touch on the Apple Watch and is rumored to be incorporating it into the next iPhone. Huawei didn't weigh any apples on stage though.
Huawei wants to move beyond basic touchscreen interactions
There are still a lot of questions about Huawei's Force Touch technology, namely, how accurate is it and what is the maximum weight? The orange weighed in the demonstration came out as 280 grams, which sounds a little on the heavy side to us, but it's clear that Huawei has big ambitions when it comes to moving beyond basic touchscreen interactions.
As well as the pressure-sensitive Force Touch feature (available only in select markets), the company also unveiled the second iteration of its Knuckle Sense feature for the Mate S. This uses input from users' knuckles for different functions, for example, as a quick-launch feature (you can assign a letter to an app and then launch that app by drawing the letter with your knuckle at any point), or as a cropping tool for photos and videos. But what else can you do with this technology or with pressure-sensitive screens in general? Huawei says it's made a start, but wants to hear from users and has set up a new initiative — the Force Touch Idea Lab — to collect new ideas.