Although HTC Sense 7 will debut on the new HTC One M9 device, which was unveiled today, HTC are not ignoring the other models in their portfolio. HTC’s Chief Executive, Peter Chou, confirmed that HTC will be bringing Sense 7 to the HTC One M8 and other models later in the year, but did not give a timescale. The M9 is to be released in mid-March so customers of HTC’s older devices will likely need to wait until after this.
HTC Sense 7 has a number of new features debuting with the M9 including the HTC Gallery, which has already been released into the Google Play Store. HTC discussed how their Gallery application is able to pull in pictures from a number of different cloud sources from across the Internet. It also has “Image Match,” whereby when a customer picks an image containing a face, he or she has the option of finding other pictures containing the same person from all synchronized accounts.
Sense 7 has some major upgrades from a personalization perspective, including a dynamic home widget that is designed to change the application shortcuts on the user’s homescreen depending on where they are. This way, when at home the device may show completely different icons compared to when at work, or perhaps on the commute. HTC Sense 7 will also have the ability to recommend new applications based on what the user does on the device. The customization of the home screen widget will be duplicated with HTC’s Blinkfeed feature, too. We’ve not yet seen this feature in action so we cannot be sure how well it works and how sensitive it is to locations nor how quickly it adapts to the user. Blinkfeed and Sense 7 will also be more aware of your location and the time, meaning it can give recommendations – for example, if you are in a different part of town around lunchtime, it can provide the user with potential lunch venues.
Another important new feature of Sense 7 is the built-in custom theme engine. Here, it appears HTC have been watching the industry and seen how Cyanogen, amongst others, have included a theme engine as part of the software. Sense 7’s theme system will build on the theming engine built into Sense 6 but adds some new features, whereby the software can generate a theme based on an image, including colors and the icon set used. It’s not clear how many icon sets Sense 7 will include or how adaptable this is, but on the face of it this is impressive stuff. Finally, Sense 7 includes improvements to the HTC Dot View case, including the ability to customize what is showing here and even includes games, too!
Much of Sense 7’s new features have only been quickly demonstrated by HTC’s executives on the stage at this juncture so we’re yet to see them in action, but they certainly sound exciting. The personalization and theme engine sides of things sound very impressive. What do our readers think? Let us know in the comments below.