3D appears to be the next big theme for smartphones. Later in June, Amazon is expected to release a phone with a glasses-free 3D display, and before 2014 is out we’ll see a new Lumia phone from Microsoft with ‘3D Touch’ interactions.
Or at least so say the rumors…but there are a lot of them, and from sources with a reliable history for accurary. Both The Verge and WP Central say later this year—likely the fall—Microsoft will release a Lumia phone code-named ‘McLaren.’
This device is said to be a follow-up to the Lumia 1020, but the big advance will be how you interact with the device. McLaren will reportedly support a range of motion gestures and other interactions based on movement referred to internally as ‘3D Touch.’ One example of ‘3D Touch’ would be the ability to dismiss notifications with a Kinect-style wave of your hand in front of the handset.
Don’t touch me
The Verge first reported on ‘3D Touch’ last November, but information at the time was scarce. Based on the new reports,the most compelling part of 3D touch will be Mix View. First detailed by WP Central, Mix View is said to be a further improvement on Windows Phone’s Live Tile concept.
With Mix View, you reportedly hover your finger above the display and a Live Tile will then shake to indicate it has focus. Move your finger downwards, but without touching the display, and the Live Tile separates into multiple mini-tiles.
A tile for a particular contact, for example, could blossom to show options for phone, email, Skype, and Facebook, WP Central says.
If the name Mix View sounds familiar, then you’re probably a former Zune user. Zune 3.0 included a feature called MixView that was Microsoft’s answer to iTunes Genius. With MixView, you picked an image of an artist or album and then images of related music would surround the original choice. The idea was to help you find music recommendations based on what you listen to.
If the rumors are correct, MixView would be another example of Microsoft repurposing an old term for a new product—the most obvious example being Surface, which originally referred to a large tabletop computer but now is the name for Microsoft-branded tablets.
Beyond Kinect-like motion gestures, ‘3D Touch’ may also react to motion cues, similar to the Moto X. Place your phone on a table, for example, and it may automatically switch to speaker phone, says The Verge. You could also put your handset in your pocket and the phone would automatically hang up, or hold it to your face to automatically answer incoming calls.
Nokia has apparently been working on 3D Touch long before it was acquired by Microsoft, and the new feature may be a Lumia exclusive to start.
McLaren isn’t the only new Windows Phone expected to show up in the coming months. Prolific leaker Evleaks recently detailed a number of Lumia phones headed to store shelves relatively soon with codenames like Rock, Superman, Tesla, Dempsey, and Talkman.