Featured: HTC Sense 4.0 First Impressions

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HTC is going strong into the new year after a disappointing quarter last year. They plan to cut back on the devices the put out, they want to use other chips besides Qualcomm ones, and they're going to double down on making Sense 4.0 great again on top of Android 4.0.

I've long been a supporter of the stock Android, and still am, but the truth is that as long these skins actually add value to the user experience, and they aren't there just to call it "different", and if the skins barely affect the upgrade process, and also if they don't break app compatibility between Android phones, then I don't mind them too much.

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Part of what makes Android great is that it can it's an open source OS and ecosystem, which means features can appear in an evolutionary manner. Some may be terrible, most might be mediocre, but some will be great, too. And those great new features and ideas can then be implemented in stock Android. This is the evolutionary nature of an open source Android. A single company, like Google, may not be able to come up with too many great ideas, but a collective of them might.

So back to HTC, it seems that PocketNow got their hands on a Sense 4.0 smartphone, and they're giving us some details about what's new:

  • Landscape support for the home screen
  • Bubbly sliders have been replaced with squared buttons
  • Sense buttons now feature descriptive text which accompanies the button icon
  • Lock screen will be able to display task or to-do lists, favorite contacts for quick dialing and direct access to notification bar
  • Updated email client with threaded messages and improved layout
  • Smart Sync technology which syncs your email based on your usage habits
  • Reader feature in browser strips away ads and other useless web clutter
  • Read/Watch Later feature in browser saves content in a widget which can be accessed at a later time (even offline)
  • Guest Mode Scene disables phone functionality and access to personal data
  • Beats Audio profile updated to work with third party applications
  • Full DropBox integration with 50GB of free cloud storage
This doesn't give us a whole lot to work with, but from the looks of it they really like the new Sense 4.0, so we might like it as well, once it arrives in the first phones with it, the HTC Ville and the HTC Edge.
[Via AndroidAndMe; Source: PocketNow]