Jul 23 AT 5:03 PM Nick Gray 64 Comments

Drew Bamford sheds some light on the future of HTC Sense

The beauty of the Android OS is the fact that it’s completely open source and each core application can be tweaked or swapped out for another.  This ability has allowed manufacturers to customize their devices with their own applications, giving their phones a unique feel and user experience.

Unfortunately, Android’s openness seems to be causing some friction within the Android community.  On one side, you have fans of the stock Android UI, features, and set of applications that are bundled with a vanilla install of the OS. The other side has fans of the custom UI’s, tweaks, and application integration from companies like HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.

Rumors about the upcoming Android 3.0 build, expected to be unveiled within the next 6 months, indicate that Google is focusing a lot of their attention on enhancing the stock Android UI and adding in many of the custom feature sets that manufacturers have created for their handsets to bring the functionality and design of Android up to par with the custom builds.  Many Android purists are hoping that with the unveiling of Android 3.0, manufacturers will start shying away from their custom UI implementations which do add a significant time investment into the development process.

But fans of HTC’s Sense UI can breathe a sigh of relief.  A recent interview with Drew Bamford (Manager of HTC’s user experience design team) has revealed that HTC is still hard at work on Sense and has no plans on shelving their custom UI when Android 3.0 is introduced.  Bamford noted that, “Google may focus more on improving the user interface on the stock Android [software], but I don’t think they’ll preclude manufacturer customization.”

New features such as the application sharing widget found on the recently release HTC Wildfire will be ported over to other HTC phones in future updates. Bamford also mentioned that HTC is looking into cloud computing integration which would allow HTC users to sync, store, and stream their data and media.

We know that there are a lot of HTC Sense fans around here.  Are any of you glad that Sense will be sticking around when Android 3.0 is released?

Via: HTC Source

Source: Forbes

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://Website mostlyDigital

    As much as I love Sense on my Incredible, I’m not in favor of anything that could result in a phone not getting upgraded to the next version of Android – if the hardware is capable. My recommendation for Gingerbread is a modular system where the UI could be swapped in or out without any custom work on the OS.

    • http://Website Westy

      I agree man, allow me to choose between the UI. Why dont they treat these phones like computers and allow me to uninstall and install what i want on my damn phone. I should be allowed to turn off their UI and i should be able to uninstall any of their crapware without having to root the phone. Its really annoying.

  • Noice

    My gripe with the custom software that hardware vendors shove down our collective throats isn’t just that it delays updates… but it further fractures the development environment. I’ve seen a few cases where SenseUI and Samsung’s UI can make debugging other applications more difficult (or prevent features from being released). Hardware manufactures need to realize that they are building computers designed for a target OS, and stop with the adding of bloat on top of it.

    They could simply sell their software in the market and have a new stream of revenue if they really feel that they are filling a void with it.

    Stop trying to “improve” the experience with software… make the best hardware, bundle it with the best provider (rinse/repeat) and you’ll stay on top of the game.

    • http://Website Ayocuz

      I’ve been preaching that for the longest. I think it would be the smartest thing to just sell custom roms thru the market without having to unlock bootloaders and root phones. How is it that we the people can see that as a good idea but the powers that be cannot.

  • http://Website TheQuickBrownFox

    “Stop trying to “improve” the experience with software… make the best hardware, bundle it with the best provider (rinse/repeat) and you’ll stay on top of the game.”

    I agree with that. I feel companies should have a very sharp focus on something they want to excel at. All the resources put into the custom sense UI might be better spent on slight hardware design improvements. The added bonus would be timely software updates, which is very important to the type of person that would read this site.

  • http://Website tom

    Unfortunately, I don’t think manufacturers will let go of their custom UIs no matter how excellent and flexible and customizable stock Android becomes. The reason they won’t is that they don’t actually create custom UIs to genuinely add value for the end user, they create them simply to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. To me as a user, generic stock Android is the best Android, but in the mind of a pointy-haired executive at a phone manufacturer, their phones must be different from everyone else’s phones in order to stand out. It’s all about marketing.

    It’s sad because all this Motoblur/Sense/Touchwiz/etc functionality could be delivered as plain apps and widgets for those who want it, without polluting the entire OS for those who don’t. As someone who does not want this junk on my phone, I have precious few options available to buy.

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

      It gets even worse when they replace apps that are, frankly, better than what they’re replacing them with. My friend was a bit bummed when he got the Evo, because one of the things he really liked on my Nexus was the gallery, which wasn’t on the Sense UI phone. (we sort of managed to download something like it from the market, but it wasn’t really the same).
      And that’s just one case out of several. The Dell streak doesn’t show the clock in the notification bar when in portrait mode… really?

      If you want to give us EXTRA functionality, fine, but don’t waste your time. Spend it wisely.

  • http://Website Josh

    My concern is that there will never be another Android based phone that only runs the stock OS. I don’t want Motoblur, I don’t want Sense UI or any of the other shells that manufacturers put out. I recently bought a Droid, just a regular Droid because I didn’t want the Motoblur that runs on the Droid X or the Droid 2, or the Sense UI that runs the Incredible.

    I wanted the hardware of the newer phones but felt they will be hampered in the future by the shells that run on top of Android. As far as I can tell with Verizon the majority of the new Android phones all are running something on top of Android, and the only one that doesn’t that is still being widely supported is the Original Droid. Disappointing.

  • http://Website jdog

    For the people who don’t like skins on top of Android, money talks and well you know the saying, I’ve been with Android since the day the G1 came out and I have never supported any phone with a custom UI and that was hard in the early days of Android. I have only bought the G1, Google Ion and the Nexus One. My next phone will also be stock Android which I hope is the 4.3in. Emerald coming to T-mobile and if that phone is not stock than I won’t buy it. As long as people keep buying the phones with custom UI’s more than stock the manufacturers will keep putting there crap ware ahead of the stock UI.

    Stock Android FTW

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

      Hmn… The most successful Android so far is the Droid (unless that’s changed recently), which is stock Andriod. That didn’t seem to stop them from slapping blur onto the Droid 2.

      But I’m totally with you, and REALLY hope there’s a stock Android phone available for me to upgrade to next year.

  • http://Website watbetch

    Sense is getting so tired, and drab. When are we going to see an innovative overhaul?

  • http://Website Jade

    As someone who loves sense on my incredible, i feel that as android users, we get the best of both worlds ui enhancements and the possibility of rooting your phone to the android that you know and love. I phone users are not so lucky. I do think that sense and others could be an app, unfortunately, the depth of development would not be as good and not as desirable. I think we need to let the process continue to get the best possible products delivered to us and see where the future of this technology takes us!

    • Noice

      I am all for the notion of letting developers, develop and innovate… but what we’re getting is stifling and artificial fragmentation:

      “Dear valued customer. We have this great phone we think you’ll like. It’s based upon an open platform, and that’s one of it’s greatest strengths! Oh, BTW… You have to use this piece of software that you may like… or if not, you can root your phone and lose tech support, and potentially even your warranty. Also… you’ll be happy to know that this mandatory piece of software is going to hold up how quickly you receive any official updates and improvements to that really great open platform we’ve given you. Just so you know, there’s also a chance that in 2-3 months, we could decide that we screwed up, and no longer want to improve that great piece of software we make you use… so you may never receive any updates at all. Thanks, and enjoy.”

      Dear Drew. Good job with that project… can we have Froyo tonight, we’ve been looking at this dessert for weeks and weeks.

      • http://n/a matt L

        this is so, the most truest comment !!!

  • AndMac

    I didn’t buy the EVO largely because I found Sense to be too tacky for my taste.

    I did buy the Galaxy S, but really do not like WizTouch 3 (I’ve covered it with Launcher Pro (for which I paid a whooping. $2.99 or something).

    But when OS3 comes, I will not buy another “customized” Android. HTC can stick to their Sense and ensure they never get my $$$.

    • http://Website watbetch

      You only “covered” the launcher. The rest is still TouchWiz 3.0

  • http://Website mazzmoney

    i want my next phone to be stock because i love changing all the shortcomings of stock android. when i had the hero i never changed any of the features on it but with the moment i did it all the time and thats what got me into android. until i got a stock phone i didnt care what os my next phone had but after the moment all i like is android. i will be happy if the is a n1 type phone on all carriers every year so the people who like android for what it is and the people who want it all out of the box can both have there ways

  • http://Website mmullen

    I’ve been looking for a good Android phone running stock. Was looking at the Nexus One, but now it has become difficult to find one. Otherwise, there isn’t much. I’d love to have a Galaxy S, but WizTouch isn’t that great. Why can’t manufacturers just give us stock, with a choice of a skin? Until that is offered, I will not buy another Android phone other than the Nexus One.

    • http://Website Mark

      Good luck on getting a N1. Unless you go used or auction (ebay), its going to be hard to find another one easily. They sold out this last week on google.com/phone.

  • http://Website Jaz

    The reason companies can’t give us a phone with stock ui with the choice of a skin is because if someone chooses htc sense and they bought a samsung, how would that be possible? The same goes if you buy an htc and you want motorola blur. Htc doesn’t have the ability to license the skin on the motorola.
    If you like a certain skin or ui then you will always have to buy that manufactures phone. Unless you buy a windows 7 phone. Microsoft announced they will not allow htc sense on their phones. Which sucks because htc sense makes any phone os better. I love htc sense and the other only ui I might think of using is the new motorola ui on the droid x. Other than that I will only be buying htc android phones. Especially since wiztouch on samsung like someone said isn’t that great at all.
    Maybe they can improve it on the new epic.

    • http://Website matt L

      I have a moment, and I’ve seen the ui for the EPIC, and I am not sure that I am going to want to change it. and I love launcher pro beta, I use it on my moment, and until I have the epic in my hand, I won’t know.

      I have the fact that they took away the live wallpaper from the moment.
      and I am praying that sammie doesn’t do that to the epic. if so I’ll be rooting the epic and go with LP beta

    • http://Website CDM

      Manufacturers could indeed include something int their custom UI so that it is only compatible with their own phones and not any other one. That would differentiate an HTC phone from others, for instance, and if you like sense on your phone you’ll buy an HTC. But you’ll be able to do so, not obliged to, and you will be able to upgrade to the latest OS version. That would be the best compromise, I think.

      Come to think of this, hacks would appear soon allowing to install sense on a Moto or Samsung anyway… :)

  • http://Website ChrisB

    The solution is simple…
    Gingerbread(3.0) will most likely have a nicer UI. Also because one of the head guys from palm that designed web os now words for google. Stock 3.0 will be a great thing.
    The solution for HTC(sense UI), motorola(moto blur), samsung (touchwiz) is for them to not include these home replacements on their phone , BUT to offer them in the market as a download option. A downloadable home replacement is the way to go. Also widgets and what not.
    Instead of forcing everyone to use their UI and wait to get android OS updates.

  • http://Website DROID Sam

    OK, I’d like to preface my comment by saying that I’m a huge fan of HTC Sense and greatly enjoy the widgets, software tweaks, and integrated applications. It’s exciting to hear that HTC will not be abandoning their UI when Android 3.0 comes along.

    People need to realize that manufacturers want to you to buy their phone over the competition’s options. Without a custom UI, manufacturers would have to compete solely based on technical specifications. While we might think that that’s a great idea, smaller manufacturers who can not compete on the hardware side would be left in the dust. By offering a unique UI or experience, the smaller companies can play with the big boys.

    What’s surprising to be is that the Android community hasn’t take things into their own hands, stripping out the stock apps from Android and putting them up on the Android market. I know, most of these apps can’t simply be installed like other apps from the market, but with a little help from the modding community, things could easily be remedied.

    Having the stock Android apps on the market would allow those looking to have the stock Android experience that they really want. Simply install the stock browser, contacts, home, and other apps and you’re set to go. The only thing that can not be changed is the notification bar and the menu system on the phone.

    • http://Website Gee

      You can’t distribute the stock Google Apps.

      • http://Website DROID Sam

        I’m not talking about Google apps (Gmail, Google Maps, Android Market, GTalk), but about the core applications like contacts, home/launcher, gallery, music player, browser, dialer, calculator and others. All these apps are part of the Android open source OS and can be modified and distributed by anyone.

        The modding community already spends a lot of time and energy in adding in their own tweaks to the music player and dialer so i’m really perplexed as to why they simply don’t make their work available on the market.

        Say you have the DROID Incredible but want to use the stock Android launcher, just download it from the market and you’re good to go. It can’t be that hard to extract these apps from the OS, can it?

    • http://Website itguy

      Ok lets think about the comments you made. One why hasn’t the Android Community started pulling the stock apps from android. Why would they need to do that. If they did that they would be taking time away from improving other features that devs and google them selves pick up on and adopt. Also if you did that and you added those plain apps to your custom ui you still get that ui in the background. I went from a droid to a droid incredible. I am not a big fan of the sense ui I liked stock programs better. I hate the biggest fact that you can’t pull off stuff you don’t use and that bloats your phone. When you get the phone it has 8gb of internal memory. Before you do anything you lose over a gig thanks to the bloatware that is on the phone. There are many reasons that anyone can go on about why manufactures should keep the ui off the phones. The companies can offer these as downloads free after you buy your phone and only specific to their phones. If people really love their ui then they will buy that phone and donwload the software. Then people can look at the phones and see what they are really getting for the money hardware wise on the device. As far as the little guy can compete with bigger companies because of their custom ui that is a bunch of crap. You say they can’t afford to do some research and try things out on the hardware side to keep up with the big companies. Well look at the time it takes any company to make their custom ui part of a new os. I think the time and money they take to do that is much more then it would to improve the phones. I agree with others that you can reinvest your money that way. If they made the custom ui as an app or add on in some way I think they could develop those custom ui’s much faster. I would love to see just plain android phones and let everyone go from there. I think that is the spirit of Android and I love it part of the reason I tell everyone about it and show it off so much. Letting the user set their phone up the way they want not be forced to use it like Apple or have to know someone that can root and change custom roms on their phone. Plus as someone else already said when you do that you take the risk of losing support and breaking your phone.

      • http://Website Xme34

        Wow, you tore his comment apart without even thinking about what you were saying! the time needed to get any of these apps running independently from the OS wouldn’t take that long. I had never thought about that before and I might take that up as my next project. With so many people bitching and moaning about not having stock Android, this solution would fix everything except for the custom notification bar.

        It’s funny though. If you check the modding community, most everyone is focused on skinning their stock Android UI to make it look like HTC Sense or Samsung’s touchWiz UI.

        I hope people on this site keep in mind that you’re in the minority. I’d say that less than 20% of Android users even know what stock Android looks like. Custom UI’s are here to stay.

        • AndMac

          While you may think Sense is “like a BMW,” there are many who think it’s more like a Camaro. It’s tacky.

          But for those who like it, why not give them the option to buy it from the Market, just like we can buy LauncherPro? Then we don’t have to worry about locked bootloaders, and don’t have to wait for ages to upgrade.

          Android OS 3 is supposed to make the UI more consistent and better designed.

          If you like being locked to the UI of a particular manufacturer, why not just buy an iPhone? iOS’s UI is more consistent than Android 2.1, and it is certainly more elegant than Sense.

          But being locked up is no virtue.

  • http://Website jayy336

    i really DO NOT understand why the manufacturers want to take the extra time and create a brand new UI over Android. It just doesn’t end up working up with the updates, then they end up with a lot of angry customers who want the newest version of Android as soon as it comes out.

    Im SO glad that i have my Nexus One with its pure stock android glory. It sucks HTC pretty much has Sense on ALL of its phones (w/ the exception of the old G1 & MyTouch). I really like how they manufacture their products, I just HATE that they don’t have at least ONE phone (besides the N1, G1, & original MyTouch) that run the stock version of Android.

  • http://Website Canterrain

    I like Sense. A lot. I probably will end up sticking with sense phones (then again, the EPIC does entice me some… some.)

    But I don’t think there would be any loss of Sense was stripped down to just being widgets. That’s what I like the MOST from Sense. The widgets are fanfreakingtastic. And if they just included those on HTC phones (and only HTC phones so they can still do a ‘look at our phones!’ deal) I think all would be better off.

    Drop the other skinning stuff, leave it to just the widgets (oh and maybe leap, that’s pretty fantastic too actually), and I think many would be happy.

    • http://Website MeDROID

      Agree 100%. Sense is amazing and I think that most people who are bitching about it here have never owned a phone that uses it. Yes, it does add a little bloat to the OS, but if you are running a 1GHz processor (like me) it’s as smooth as butter.

      Sense adds a lot of little things that Google leaves out of stock Android. I think most people don’t realize that what Google releases with stock Android is just the foundation of what they want people to build upon, it’s not meant to be the most complete experience possible with the OS

  • http://Website panib

    Once upon a time, in the pre- android- era, with every new mobile phone we bought we had to dig into new UIs and more or less complicated menus… These times are over. Thanks to Google and thanks to Android I can set the appearance of my UI the way I like it.

    I’d like to see the new OS 3.0 having built in some smart widgets like Motorola, Samsung and others have in their custom UIs and I’d appreciate it very much if the custom UIs would disappear, IF this would make OS updates a.s.f. quicker and easier.
    Please excuse my limited English, am German.

  • Ryan C

    I have the Droid 1 with the stock android 2.0.1. i love it. i use LauncherPro but thats it. my 2 yr contract is up november 2011. I cant even imagine what will be available then. However if theres no good phones that can compare to my droid 1 im not upgrading untill theres a good phone, that we can see will stay supported for a long time and has stock android. F*ck it! ill wait untill theres one without motoblur or Sense!! ill just keep my Moto Droid.

  • http://Website mkrmec

    Loose the lame custom crap go with stock… it’s best for the quick upgrades and so on.. why wait 6+ months for an upgrade that may not come at all ..

  • http://Website Pkplonker

    I want to know why HTC won’t give us the option to download vannila 2.2 for our sense phones while they create the official sence 2.2. By the time they develop it google will be well on its way to introducing us all to 3.0

    • http://Website mkrmec

      they don’t wannna :D

  • http://Website jonathan m

    I like many of you like the HTC UI, but wish! I had a chose to go from HTC UI to stock UI! That’s all I really ask for. Keep on improving the HTC UI. Fine with me. Just let me go to stock android UI If I wish.

    Not that hard is it …. ? Then pls do it :)

  • http://Website Jeroen

    Google should put a stop on the deep integration of custom UI’s. It’s bad for Android as a “brand” and adds to the fragmentation that is already there.
    With the Nexus One now ending it’s lifecycle, there currently is NO high-end Android device with stock UI. This means that people that don’t want custom UI’s (like me) are without any choice in the future aside from the Droid 1.

    People always say “you can turn off Sense” but you really can’t. You can turn of the Sense homescreen but all the other deep integrated stuff can’t be turned back to stock. And most of the times original apps are replaced by HTC versions, so I can’t get those either.

    And in some of the newer HTC’s you can’t even revert to the stock launcher/homescreen.

    If Google wants to keep letting these custom UI’s on Android devices it should at least always be possible to return to a completely stock OS.

  • http://Website Gee

    Aghh. I hate these UI overlays.

    For one, whoever designs Sense, needs to get fired. It looks like a good amateur job ridden with graphical and UX mistakes. Like, what’s up with the the abundant use of (ugly) glossy bevels? They are too strong and a lot of times have flat UI elements over them which destroy the effect altogether. And why are a lot of the buttons inset in their default state? This particularly makes no sense. Just two of many examples. Stock Android may be simple (which is better to me) but it’s not ugly and at least makes sense.

    Secondly, it destroy the harmony between Android and its Apps. Part of what makes the iPhone OS so great is it’s UI/UX harmony between the core OS and it’s Apps. Everything just syncs together because the developers know what to expect. On Android you’ll get a missed matched experience depending on what phone you have. Using stock Android fixes this.

    • http://Website MeDROID

      I’m sure I’ll get voted down for this, but if you like everything to be right in it’s place, go get yourself an iphone. The beauty of Android is that you can do anything with it. As android fans, we claim that Android is better than the iphone because we’re allowed to do whatever we want with it, but it sounds like you want to take this freedom away from Android. Those of you who are bad mouthing Sense need to realize that most all the features that it introduced to Android have not been incroporated into Android 2.1.

      visual representation of which home screen you are on
      additional buttons on the app launcher
      gallery with pinch-to-zoom/swype between pictures
      swipe to unlock home screen
      better clock with additional features

      and i’m sure the lift goes on. Oh, keep in mind, all these features were introduced back when Google hadn’t even launched Android 1.6 yet. Google realized that HTC’s features were something that customers really wanted so they worked them into their own UI with the release of 2.0/2.1. Stop blaming HTC for ruining Android. They were the only ones who were willing to take a risk and produce the first few Android phones before anyone else decided to jump into the mix. You may not like the UI, but without them, stock Android would be a lot less interesting.

      • http://Website Gee

        You are wrong there, sir.

        First of all, almost all (if not all) of the functionality brought to Android by Sense was copied off of other OS’s. So Google wasn’t inspired by them or any reception created by it. Google works on the entire OS, and thus incrementally adds and improves on certain parts of Android depending on their schedule. If you’ve kept up with the news, you’d see that the next release focuses on the UI and I fully expect to see them handily out do HTC with that release. Not only that, but Google is careful not to step on any IP; HTC isn’t so careful which is why they’re getting sued for infringing on some of Apple’s implementations.

        Finally, providing a consistent user experience does not break away from functionality or flexibility. Android should, and will probably always, provide the option of offering a horrible experience by giving you the ability to inconsistently change parts or all of Android. If you want to do that, knock yourself out. What I’m talking about is offering a good universal stock experience, that way developers like me can have a mass consumer base to work off of. Google and us App developers want to create the best Android experience possible; in fact, we add more functionality to Android which like you said is a OS that offers more flexibility than others. This won’t change, and offering a stock experience won’t change it either.

        That said, I would be a whole lot less mad at Sense if it did two things:

        1) Better integrated into Android by using stock UI elements.
        2) Was not so damn ugly.

      • http://Website Jeroen

        “As android fans, we claim that Android is better than the iphone because we’re allowed to do whatever we want with it, but it sounds like you want to take this freedom away from Android.”

        You’re completely missing the point. You would have a point IF there actually IS a choice. On a Sense phone I CAN’T make the choice to not use it. How is that giving me more freedom?

    • AndMac

      I absolutely agree with the description of Sense as “a good amateur job ridden with graphical and UX mistakes.”

      Its tackiness and deep integration into the OS is what kept me away from the EVO. And if HTC insists on sticking with it, I’ll continue to stay away from their products.

      Having said that, I do think that it should be allowed in the Market, so that people can chose to do whatever they want to their phone’s vanilla UI.

      As to MeDROID’s claims about HTC’s introduction of “gallery with pinch-to-zoom/swype between pictures” and “swipe to unlock home screen,” the iPhone had these long before Sense came along.

  • http://Website jinx8402

    I completely understand why manufacturers want to do their own implementation of Android…to differentiate themselves from other Android phones. The problem is how they are toying with how the phone works, not the custom skin. Adding in/changing functionality is what makes things a little wonky and causes development of android updates to take longer. Why don’t manufacturers just skin the OS to their liking (and adding there own widgets is fine as well). And not mess with the back end functionality of Android. This way, when an update for Android comes out, they just have to test that the theme still works/looks right over Android. They won’t have to test their custom coding and redevelop those that are broken with the new update.

    And maybe Google, along with their own visual enhancements, make theming without needing to change code easier for manufacturers.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

    I want the stock Android, period. If they want to tweak the phone’s experience, package them into an app/widget combo. Many things they are doing now can be done w/o altering the ROM. If they are so proud of their UI, bundle it for free with HTC phone, then sell them in the market for a fee for other Android phones. What they are doing now just show that they only want to lock in their users.

  • http://Website akburn

    Nope. Rather have stock os than have to wait months for os updates. If htc sense can be added to the newest updates then sure I’m game but,unfortunately because of these os overlays I have to wait for the newest os updates. I don’t think that that having stock android is a drawback. I think that sense should be a widget/app instead of being integrated into the phone.

  • http://Website ganjasmokr

    Was looking forward to nexus two… and three But whatever guess ill have fo root my next android phone because I DONT WANT custom skins on my phone.

  • http://Website Elitebattlefield

    Well as it stands now, the ability to switch between UIs is available through settings. Nonetheless, I believe it should be the end users that decides what they should run on their devices.

    The “real experience” is lost when conglomerates make try to make ALL decisions for the people that are keeping them fed. It’s an age old twist of fate, but I believe in this case HTC and Google will hear our voices loud and clear and do the right thing.

  • http://Website mijanous

    I would be glad if they can make development a lot faster….i’m still waiting on the Froyo update because of Sense UI is still not completed. I hope that all of our prays would be heard. I mean 720p recording and full media support. It’s truely sad ( for multimedia phone or smartphone ) to not have all codecs support.

    • http://Website MeDROID

      I’m with you on the complete media support. right now, stock Android has a long way to go with before it has full media capabilities. Right now, there’s only a handful of phones that support DIVX and other major codecs.

      I could care less about the UI if I knew that I could actually use my phone to play my media files without having to convert them. At least Samsung is including additional codec support along with their custom UI. HTC needs to at least add that if they want more people to accept Sense

  • http://twitter.com/simontaghioff caffeinedependent

    To all the HTC Sense nay-sayers out there, Sense is the reason I bought and own an Android phone.

    I’d seen stock on G1 and hated the lack of visual polish. The disgusting widgets with the chunky white borders and cheesy Photoshop shadows, the horrible looking buttons and sliders throughout the interface. As Apple has proven, a visually polished UI has a dramatic impact upon a user’s perception of their phone. It took the HTC Hero to change all that.

    Not only does it wipe the floor with Stock visually, functionally it’s way ahead of Stock (widgets, facebook integration into contacts and gallery, pinch-zoom, permanent drawer/dialler, 7 home screens, exchange support, search in the dialler etc.) Though some of these features have now made their way to Stock, Sense had them first.

    Where I do agree is the implementation. Sense is way too slow, even on my Desire (proof: scroll through an SMS conversation in the HTC app vs. the same thread in Handcent). Bits of it are baked in to the OS when they could just be standard apps.

    Google’s best move right now would be to refactor Android to support frameworks like Sense and lay down clear guidelines to ensure frameworks are more or less independent from the underlying OS.

    • http://Website Derek

      Well I’m happy for you if you like Sense. But did you ever stop to think about what other people like? Your attitude that since you like Sense its the only way to go, screw everybody else is so wrong. More people bitch about Sense than like it. People bought the Droid Incredible or the EVO 4G for the hardware, most dont even care about Sense and would prefer it not be on there, or to have it as an add-on.

      • http://Website DROID Sam

        Ummm…. where are you getting these numbers from? How can you say that more people bitch about Sense than like it? HTC has sold at least 6-8 million phones with HTC Sense and I’m sure the majority of them are completely happy with it. If you were right, there would be a lot more than 50 comments on this post with people trashing the OS.

        People who complain or have a gripe about something always speak up. Yes, there’s a handful of people here who don’t like Sense, but if most people who had Sense didn’t like it, I’m sure HTC would be rethinking their strategy on their UI.

    • http://Website Gee

      If you want to talk about cheesy, lets talk HTC Sense. Everything about it is badly done. It’s as if they looked at the iPhone UI, made it dark, added more gloss, added even more glass, put sloppy rounded corners into every possible place they could, and then forgot about tried and true UI/UX conventions. it’s hideous. If you like it, it’s because you just don’t know any better. I really mean that. And don’t take it as insult, I just mean that if you were to take Sense and then get a quality designer to redo, you’d see how freaking ugly it really is.

      • http://twitter.com/simontaghioff caffeinedependent

        @Derek – I don’t think Sense is the only way to go, sorry if that’s the way my comment came across. I just wanted to counter the assumption made in a lot of the preceding posts that no-one likes Sense. If no-one did, why are Sense-style widgets so popular on the market? Why are the Launcher Pro guys making a big push to incorporate Sense widgets?

        @Gee – I agree it’s way too shiny, and sure some of the inconsistencies annoy me too. I don’t think that makes the whole experience ‘hideous’, or detracts significantly from the overall usability of the device.

        Maybe I don’t know any better, what I do know is that I’m not alone in liking it, and in thinking that functionally as well as visually it represents a step up from Stock. If nothing else, plenty of reviews seem to like it (whereas TouchWiz / Motoblur, and heck WinMo, S60 etc. have come in for fairly heavy criticism). If you want to discuss glaring examples of UI inconsistency, look at the Nexus gallery app vs the rest of the OS. Or the range of default widget styles (some light, some dark etc.), or the dialler buttons vs normal app buttons vs the onscreen keyboard. What’s more, Google clearly realises this is a problem – hence the focus on UI for 3.0, and strategic hires like Matias Duarte.

      • http://Website Axom

        You may be right that HTC Sense has some inconsistencies in the UI implementation, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There’s never going to be a UI design that will please everyone. That’s why you have a modding community which supports various builds of the Android OS and gives you the option to skin it whatever way you want.

        Some of us like stock Android (I do) while some of like Sense. Just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean that we need to trash it. It has its faults, but it does add some features that stock Android does not have (I wish I could get scrolling widgets on the home screen on stock Android).

        HTC is not perfect in any way, but it is a lot better than MotoBLUR SE’s UX and other custom interfaces that have been released. HTC’s committed to delivering great products and I’m sure we will see Sense evolve over the years.

  • mmitchum

    I love (most of) HTC Sense and while I would love to get the updates to the OS quicker, I actually don’t mind waiting as long as I know that the phone will indeed be updated.

  • http://Website Derek

    I dont mind the hardware manf’s adding their skins to stock android. But they should be forced to allow users to completely uninstall that crap and add in whatever stuff they want. The EU forced microsoft to offer windows without IE, I wish they’d force HTC to sell their phones without Sense. Once I spend $600 on the phone, I OWN it. I should be allowed to uninstall any and all software on it and install whatever OS I want to on it…because ITS MY PHONE. For crying out loud, I just dropped more on a phone than I spent on a computer.

    Another point, is as long as you are locked into a long contract with a provider, the phone manf and carrier should be forced to continue to provide the latest software for it. It sucks when you get locked into a contract and then they just decide to not give you the latest software updates. So they lock you into a contract, then lock the hardware so you cant even install or modify the OS in any way they dont want you to. Something is fundamentally wrong with that picture. I dont mind the two year contract, it helps me get a phone for cheaper, but when you lock me in and then you refuse to update the phone and then you dont even let me upgrade the software on my own, that has to be illegal somehow.

  • http://Website androidrocks135

    My personal opinion is, let HTC and Motorola customize all they want. Under a new area in settings (required for custom skins) put a checkbox to turn on or off Sense, Blur, TouchWiz, whatever and also say that you will receive faster updates. Under an “advanced” area, place an option to unlock the bootloader (listing the consequences of course) and root the phone. Of course there are going to be more people with issues, but it has to be done in my opinion. Make it easy, but scary for the average joe to root their phone.

  • http://Website Sheila

    The only reason I have an Android phone is because I fell in love with with Sense UI on the Hero. I remain an Android phone user because of the Sense UI on the Droid Incredible. The 3 main features of Sense UI I really love are the People Widget, the Agenda/Calendar Widget, and the Leap function.

    I don’t mine the wait for OS upgrades because the phone does what I want. The next version of Android that is coming to the Droid Incredible will add the one missing feature I want – true hands free voice dialing thru bluetooth. After that I don’t care if the Droid Incredible gets another Android upgrade because it will be perfect for me!

  • http://Website RC

    For people who are bashing Sense, how many of you actually use those Sense-based phones thoroughly? To me, Android is like a Toyota car – stable, good performance, solid basic functions; but Sense is like making the Toyota a BMW – more horse power, more beautiful shape, more functions, easier to use – basically everything is lot better (from good). There must be some people who are satisfied with entry-level Toyota, but if no price difference (indeed no)there are probably more people wanting a BMW.

    I don’t mind waiting for updates (as long as it still comes 1-2 quarters after the stock Android phones), and the Sense-based Froyo will come to you in a month or so, very quick (cos HTC doesn’t need to rewrite all the underlying code again from Eclair to Froyo, not like the case from Donut to Eclair).

    If you ever use Sense for a decent period of time, trust me it’s so hard to go back to the stock Android UI, facing those ugly and inconsistent graphics whenver I use the phone. I’ve been using my Desire for couple of months, and I still find new features that HTC put together from time to time. Stock Android UI is a good experience, but Sense is a great experience. I think only HTC out there makes the customised skin better than the stock skin, others (Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson…etc) just screw themselves up to make the user experience a lot worse.

  • http://Website Matt

    Why not make it an optional install. Instead of forcing all HTC phones to use the Sense UI, why not make certain components available through the market instead and let us decide which pieces we want to download.

  • http://Website JoeyRedShirt

    For those who dislike Sense that much:
    Go to Settings > Manage Applications > HTC Sense > Clear Defaults

    Then power down your phone and power it up again. As soon as you slide the lock screen you are prompted whether you want to use Sense or Home (with a checkbox to use as default!).

    Where’s the problem?

    -HTC Legend