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This unusual phone never wants you to stretch across a big screen to tap a key again

Manta is a new name in mobile, and if the teasers regarding its first smartphone release are anything to by, it’s one to watch for the future. Based in China, Manta is planning to announce the X7 very soon, and it stands out because it has no physical buttons at all, and uses a proximity sensor to shift on-screen buttons around, so they’re easier to tap with your thumb.

We’re used to phones without buttons on the front, such as the Nexus 5, and even phones like the LG G3 with the keys shifted around to the rear panel. The Manta X7 apparently does away with buttons entirely, leaving a smooth, clean body. Devoid of buttons, how does Manta expect us to operate the X7?

Related: Our review of the BlackBerry Passport, with its multi-touch physical keyboard

Manta X7 TouchIt seems the sides of the phone come with touch sensitive panels, where the volume can be adjusted, although it’s not clear whether the phone can be powered on and off in the same way. Rather than leave the touch control system there, Manta seems to have added a proximity controlled system to the phone’s edges, to make stretching for buttons a thing of the past.

If this report is correct, it’ll detect the way you’re holding the phone, and shift input panels like the dialer or the keypad closer to your thumb. This is a clever evolution of the systems we’ve seen on other large-screen phones, where the keyboard can be moved around using the touchscreen. Manta’s way, if it’s automatic, could be far more intuitive.

The remainder of the phones spec isn’t known, but we should expect it to run Manta’s own version of Android, making it unlikely it’ll be sold outside of China. However, if the touch tech works well, we could see other manufacturers introduce similar systems in the future, particularly because big-screen devices continue to be popular.

We’ll update here when Manta announces the X7.