Touchscreens changed the way people interact with their smartphones, largely replacing keyboards and direction pads with virtual keys and support for tap, swipe, and pinch gestures.

Now a new type of touchscreen technology could be coming to smartphones: Force Touch. This would allow a phone to recognize how hard you’re pressing the screen, enabling different actions for a light tap versus a firm press, for example.

apple watch force touch

Apple already uses Force Touch technology in the Apple Watch, giving users easy ways to dismiss notifications, compose a new message, add an alarm, or perform other actions. Apple’s latest MacBook laptops also have Force Touch trackpads.

For the past few months there have been rumors that the next iPhone could also include support for Force Touch, allowing you to perform certain actions more quickly. Apple hasn’t confirmed those reports yet, but that hasn’t stopped some folks from imagining how it could work.

Apple may not be the only company developing smartphones with Force Touch capabilities.

Update: Evan Blass says it turns out the Force Touch feature has been pulled from the upcoming Huawei phone mentioned below. But it’s still possible that Apple could launch new iPhones with Force Touch in the future, and it seems likely that Huawei and some other Android phone makers are at least considering launching phones with similar features. 

According to Evan Blass, Huawei plans to launch a new phone at the IFA trade show in September. No surprise there — we’ll probably see a bunch of new phones that week.

huawei force

But Blass says this model will also support Force Touch capabilities, which could make it one of the first Android devices with the feature.

Something tells me it might not be the last.

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7 replies on “Is “Force Touch” coming to smartphone screens?”

  1. They still didn’t do anything about touchscreen latency. Touchscreen delay is still horrible when drawing or playing some games (moving an object with a finger). I don’t care about Force Touch.

  2. I have tried force touch on a Macbookpro – and cannot say that I like it. It just slows down my workflow…

    1. You mean a working version of Blackberry Storm’s SurePress?

  3. It will be interesting to see if users take to it. Outside of things like drawing apps, I’m not sure how different force touch will be to “long tough” in most cases. After all, heavier touches naturally tend to be longer touches anyway. And I’m not sure how people like my Dad would cope if long touches become force touches. He taps heavily on his tablet screen almost every time.

    It’s a tough lesson to learn, sometimes. Better, more versatile user input methods don’t always catch on — like the IBM Trackpoint (pointing stick) over the trackpad, for one 🙂

    1. Trackpoint rubbernubs are effectively extinct for good reason: market rejection. This goofy “force touch” scheme seems even more of a usability nightmare and will probably end up on the UI Oddities scrapheap that much more quickly. But only time will tell. The mass market judges merit by yardsticks that are hard to get a grasp on.

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