Microsoft is reportedly working on a smartphone that will feature a new Kinect-like 3D Touch interface. Codenamed McLaren, the handset is said to debut this fall and land on each of the Big Four U.S. carriers in time for the holidays. A successor to Nokia's camera-centric Lumia 1020, McLaren will include Microsoft's and Nokia's 3D Touch UI, which will allow users to interact with the device without having to touch its display.
According to The Verge, the technology will initially be exclusive to Microsoft smartphones and let a user perform functions such as answer calls by lifting the handset to their ear, enable the speaker phone by placing the handset on a table, and mute calls by putting the phone against their chest or covering it with their hand.
Other features will reportedly include the ability to hang up on a caller by putting the phone in your pocket and dismissing notifications by waving your hand over the screen. The 3D Touch interface is also expected to let users expand Live Tiles on the Windows Phone home screen by hovering their fingers over them using a feature called Mix View, Windows Phone Central reports.
Much of 3D Touch's functionality sounds similar to Samsung's Air View and Air Gesture features, which debuted on the Galaxy S4. Air View, like Mix View, lets you hover your finger over your handset's display to get additional information on certain apps. Unlike Mix View, though, Air View provides you with things such as email previews when you hover over an email message. Air Gesture lets you answer calls and scroll through Web pages by swiping your hand over the phone's front-facing proximity and motion sensors.
In addition to the aforementioned features, 3D Touch could also let you power on your phone by squeezing it or zoom in on photo subjects by running your finger along the handset's edge. The idea behind the 3D Touch interface is to completely eliminate the need for external buttons on your smartphone.
Microsoft won't have the 3D interface spotlight to itself in 2014. The upcoming Amazon phone, which is expected to debut June 18, will reportedly leverage four infrared cameras to read your face and let you tilt your phone to navigate it.