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Microsoft could have beaten iPhone to 3D Touch – and maybe saved Windows Phone

Microsoft turned its back on a Windows Phone flagship that would have debuted a 3D Touch-like feature before Apple launched it on the iPhone.

A prototype of the oft-rumoured Nokia McLaren has fallen into the hands of Windows Central, who’ve conducted a sort of postmortem video review of the cancelled device.

The McLaren’s 3D Touch features, although buggy and incomplete, even seem superior to what Apple is currently offering within the iPhone 6S series.

Instead of lightly pressing down on an icon, the McLaren’s 3D Touch tech uses Kinect-like gestures, making it possible to just hover over an app with a finger to reveal options.

Related: Microsoft Lumia 950 review

As users move their hands over the screen, each of the tiles moved like a wave and when one is settled upon a range of options are presented.

For example, using the ‘hover and gesture’ tools, settling over a contact’s Live Tile would reveal the options to call, email or message.

The multiple sensors within the display can track multiple fingers at a time and even know when a users are gripping the phone.

Those sensors in the side of the display could also be utilised in settings to ensure the display remains on whenever the phone was gripped.

In terms of hardware, the McLaren would have offered a 5.5-inch full HD LCD with the full 20-megapixel camera (so no PureView tech) and a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM.

The full metal jacket design may also have been a boon for smartphone fans toying with the idea of giving Windows Phone another shot.

Alas, Microsoft cancelled the project a couple of years back, amid concerns users wouldn’t ‘get’ the concept of 3D Touch

Would it have made a difference in the smartphone stakes? We’ll never know, but there might be a few folks wondering at Microsoft wondering whether McLaren could have changed the race.

Check out the Nokia McLaren review in the video below.

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