Mar 01 AT 2:16 PM Edgar Cervantes 65 Comments

HTC switching to simple philosophy with Sense 4 and new devices


HTC is in the middle of one of its biggest transitions in the mobile industry. The plan is to simplify everything, from the range of devices to HTC Sense itself. We have already started to see this being implemented, specifically with the unified HTC One device line-up. But there is also a substantial improvement in HTC’s customized UI overlay.

In an interview with Pocket-Lint, at MWC, HTC’s Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera went on the record about HTC Sense 4.0. Kodera mentions that their custom skin had become too complicated, and needed a renovation. While Sense has proven to be one of the most popular among custom manufacturer skins, the simplicity of stock Android is unbeatable. And HTC is now focusing on bringing the experience closer to stock.

From the original Sense up to Sense 3.5 we added too many things. The original concept was that it had to be simple and it had to be easy to use and we had that philosophy, but over time it got cluttered.Kouji KoderaHTC Chief Product Officer

Kouji goes on to mention that HTC Sense had become very cluttered. “There where too many things in there. Even on the home screen we had four or five icons before consumers got a chance to add things themselves,” he said. And this is true, not only did Sense become a bit of an over-worked product, but it also was known to be a battery hog.

HTC claims that things were brought down to Sense 2.0 with the HTC One devices, making for a much cleaner experience. But that is not the only thing that is changing in 2012. Kodera also re-stated that we will be “hearing less from them,” as product releases will also start decreasing.

This year, HTC has decided to switch its whole philosophy, in order to become less cluttered and confusing for the consumer. Everything will be much more simple and seamless, with a much smoother flow.

With fewer devices and a UI that is more parallel with stock Android, we can surely expect much better and more timely updates, as well as more thought out, quality smartphones. This is assuming that things are done right, of course, but we assume big HTC has a good strategy in its plans.

Let’s sit tight and see how things turn out. But for now, the new Sense will be available via the HTC One X and One S. The lower-end HTC One V has HTC Sense 3.6, so we don’t know just how well it will play out among its bigger brothers. But the device is not bad, and the Sense 3.6 UI looks just as clean as Sense 4.0.

Are any of you planning to enjoy HTC Sense 4.0 on one of the new devices?

Via: Phandroid

Source: Pocket-Lint

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • oddball

    I am looking forward to seeing what HTC brings to the table going forward. They have a lot of ground to make up after a disappointing year but if they focus on quality they are sure to do well

    • Jeff Pan

      Yes. Good to see they are willing to accept what went wrong.

      I am pretty sure they will make a good comeback.

    • zerosix

      I am looking forward to seeing, what they bring to the tablet market.
      What I like about them – is small but lovely features, like hardware buttons of Flyer.

    • leganzish

      I really am too. It seems like the pendulum might be starting to swing away from Samsung and back towards HTC. With HTC’s new focus and Sammy putting out as many phones as they can with many of them seeming like half-baked ideas (seriously, a 15 lumen projector phone?!?) I can see HTC sitting at the top of Android manufacturers again in the next year or two. It seems like Samsung is making similar mistakes to the ones HTC made when they found themselves on top.

    • WlfHart

      I’m rooting for their comeback!

    • tmihai20

      This is too good to be true. HTC first started to focus on quality products, then they say Sense 4.0 will try to bring a closer experience to stock IceaCream Sandwich. Just send those updates already!!! I must say I started to love HTC again, just like in the HD2 days :D

  • Vieper07

    htc had made a great job with these devices and wont bring them down whit a crappy software

  • Chad

    So if they understand that stock android is unbeatable then why try to beat it? It’s what most consumers want anyway and a lot of the other consumers don’t even know or understand what skins are so they wouldn’t even notice the difference. It’s a simple solution manufacturers… just go stock.

    • redraider133

      Because most “non tech” people like what skins bring to the table with the added customizations, etc. I know those on sites like this do not feel the same but we are in the minority.

      • Chad

        I guess it’s all in how you look at it because I feel skins limit the user more than add opportunity, but it seems we are at the point where it’s too late anyways, skins are the norm and most like what they bring. I would appreciate more of a choice approach..for example, the phone should come stock but upon installation ask if you would like to install whatever phone specific skin available.

        • swazedahustla

          Thats very true, but if every carrier simply released a phone that was only different in design, what kind of competition would that be? Skins are uniquie and allow for a certain demographic to have something that is different from all the other carriers. How boring would if every carrier had the same phones with the same software and same UI. Kinda hard to market your brand if its the exact same as your competition.

          • Chad

            Great points. I know in my own opinion I hate skins lol but I also understand they are needed and that’s what makes Android what it is. It’s nice to come to a tech site and have a simple convo with peers without it turning into a heated convo – much respect!

          • Xpeira Fever

            Personally I love being able to customise my Android phone. I recently switched from iOS and tbh it really annoyed me that all I was allowed to do was change my wallpaper unless I jailbroke it and installed a dozen tweaks. I think everybody has a different view about skinning and customisng their device but I love that Android puts the choice back in the users hands, everything Apple is so forced and made me feel like it wasn’t my phone, almost like they’d just rented it to me lol. I think a lot who make the switch from Apple phones like the fact you can modify the phone to reflect you and it’s all so easy, no rooting even needed for it unlike on iOS.

            It’s also nice to have grown up debates with people instead of the 12 year old insults that are on every iDevice blog !!

  • johnroblawson

    I think Samsung need to learn from this: less is more. Streamline the choice presented to the customer, and they won’t be turned off by the shear volume of models to choose between!

    • Chad

      “Less is more” So true! and being a designer myself, it took me a while to understand and accept this concept but once I finally did my work gained a lot of maturity and became a lot better, this is something that HTC is learning and other manufacturers need to take note of.

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    I personally think HTC Sense 4 looks beautiful, I prefer it over ICS just being honest. Stock ICS is awesome though :D

    • slurms mckenzie

      what exactly about it is beautiful? it looks the same with just a new dock and roboto font nothing else. for christs sake they even have the same icons. i think u need ur eyes checked

      • NotRelevent

        Or perhaps it’s you who needs the eye exam as most of the icons are different vs. gingerbread.

      • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

        did you forget that it is MY OPINION?

  • redraider133

    This is smart on HTC’s part. It seemed that sense previously really put a burden on even phones with high end specs and hopefully the new sense will be able to run more smoothly on more devices and maybe even help with some of the battery issues htc has had in the past.

  • spazby step should be to offer their skin did as an option.

  • lxgeorge

    THANK YOU HTC! You remain my favourite smartphone manufacturer. When my upgrade comes in October I’m continuing my “G series” streak with the One X if those rumors are true. Vanilla Android and unlocked bootloaders ftw!


    This is why I will likely be going back to HTC with the One XL. I’m ready to leave Samsung however I have had a great time with my SGSII. I’m a little nervous about the battery, but I love the new design of the XL plus all of its hardware and software features. I’m rooting for ya HTC!


      well, yeah! :)

  • Vance

    There’s a chance HTC will win the Android and Me Super Bowl next year! I think HTC is listening to its customers and to the marketplace, and for that, we thank you. :)

  • thekaz

    after tasting vanilla, I don’t know that I can go back to Sense, but perhaps now I can start recommending HTC phones to people again without feeling a little bad about it..

  • copa

    so this made me decide to get the one x as my first ever smartphone/android device. yay for me?

  • mustybooks

    Yaaay! Light to no skins everyone with ICS :D… That is unless they can make it better…

  • jaydeeIL

    Glad to see HTC’s new strategy. I’m sure a lot of the early adopters for the EVO 4G are now wondering what’s next in line to get. The One X does look nice

    • alxrock

      I’m still rockin the EVO 4G from launch day, and the One X seems pretty great, but I don’t know if I can stick with HTC another couple years. The Sense 4.0 is looking better than I thought it would, but I’m still kinda worried about that 1800mah non-removable battery (especially after dealing with the EVO’s battery life)

      • cb2000a

        The battery will be fine with T-Mo’s HSPA+.

      • tmihai20

        I managed to get better battery life with Leedroid ROM (based on stock 3.0 Sense) and with his kernel. There are at least 2 other kernels worth using with USB OTG and/or HDMI output. I own a GSM Evo 3D. Today I’ve read that the Evo would get Sense 3.6 though. I hope they will reconsider, because I don’t want to go to custom ROMs to have Sense 4.0 (I want to enjoy all that the Evo has to offer).

  • Derek

    I cant wait to get Sense 4.0 along with ICS for my HTC Rezound!! Bring it on HTC!!!

  • Jorge Eslava

    Focusing on making less devices, simplifying Sense by inching towards stock Android? HTC has gained points in my book and these are important towards my decision when buying a smartphone.

  • honourbound68

    I think the bigger issue with manufacturer skins is that the more complicated they are the harder it is to upgrade to a newer software version. I’m glad that HTC recognized this and will simplify their ui. I think it will lead to more sales as long as they can keep the upgrades coming quickly.

  • uknowme

    I’m excited to see what is in store. I’m also patiently waiting for the update on my Evo 3D.

  • MJM128

    I’m still disappointed with the no micro sd card slot.. :(

  • MrDSL

    HTC = The new Apple!!

    Everyone knows most HTC phones have sucky battery life..

    How is no SDCARD and a wimpy ass non removable battery a step forward??????????

  • bellken

    From an earlier article, it sounds like HTC is working hard to put out ICS with Sense 3.6 for their existing devices. Why not Sense 4.0 for all HTC devices? What is the difference between Sense 3.6 and 4.0?

  • Nathan D.

    I think I feel better buying a HTC phone knowing that the phone I buy isn’t going to get bested in the next couple months.

    • cthonctic

      But it will still be “bested” because Samsung et al don’t stop releasing newer and better devices, just not by HTC themselves maybe.

      I think that shouldn’t be a very important point though. Sure, we all love the latest and greatest but just because a new smartphone is presented doesn’t mean the one you bought just became worse. It’s cool to be interested in the bleeding edge of hardware specs but it should never become an obsession inasmuch as it devalues the handset you use daily IMO.

  • Hall Lo

    Glad that HTC figured it out that they added too many things on Sense :)
    I m looking forward to how HTC is going to change it and simplify it

  • nivekkev

    Well Looks like I get to stick with HTC just a little bit longer, still wishing they would just make a switch for those “tech savy enough” to turn it completely off if we don’t want it or need it, but the for the main stream it will still be there. That would really be impressive!!!

  • yankeesusa

    This is great news with the new android 4.0 and being able to use all the cool features that come standard with 4.0. I’m sure they’ll be ready for 5.0 too with the new simplified sense. Can’t wait to see what they do.

  • Leo Young

    I have not enjoyed the “Sense” experience and found a few frustrating things about it but it was not bad. I think the overall direction is a very good one.

    Now if they could only bring out a brighter screen . . .

  • Dags -

    They already lost most ROM developers around the time of the Incredible S and Sensation. Releasing phones with non-removable batteries will only make the situation worse. These new phones will probably be a hit with consumers but if you like custom ROMs and an active dev community, look elsewhere. A real shame because HTC used to be the number one choice for devs.

  • jamal adam

    I like the direction HTC is headed in. This is good news for us all.

  • Mike C

    This is really good news. Of course dropping Sense altogether would be even better. If I want custom launchers, dialers, etc. I can get them at the Android Market. And if HTC has anything worth using, then I would like to download it from there. But I want the choice.

    I will be getting the One X.

    Pros: Great design (I really like the polycarbonate plastic), great CPU, great screen, ICS

    Cons: No SD card, only 32 Gb, Sense

  • inviolable

    Hopefully it translates to faster Android updates as well

  • Jay

    Thanks, HTC! Bring a hot blow-out phone to Sprint and wow us! No more EVO 3Ds! Cut the weird gimmicky stuff an give us powerful, sleek, simple, sexy, modern phones! Make us proud to say ‘it’s an HTC _____.’ B-)

  • skugern

    While skeptical, if a “simpler” skin made software updates more timely, then I’m all for it.

  • naga

    Hi guys its looks as though HTC one x,s,v is gona be the ‘one’ for lotz off people..;)
    I see lotz of you complaining about the battery card and sense 4.0..Trust me guys I’m using sensation xl..which has no sd card ,the 16gb is sufficient enough for my needs..and I believe it makes the device fast. eventhough it has 1600m battery under the hood it lasts me a whole day with heavy usage.. the sense 3.5 is doesn’t lag even though its a single core.. .I have used HTC phones for long as I know..they have really improved on a lot of aspects of the phone…but HTC one x I would say has really captured my heart..;)

  • Isaac

    Still feel though that this streamlined strategy will not apply to the CDMA carriers of the states and their “exclusives”.

  • Dr.Carpy

    Hats of to HTC for not being too full of themselves to take a criticism and do something constructive with it. If people didn’t like Sense UI, sure adapt. I’m grateful that they are also committing themselves to fewer devices so that they can focus on quality over quantity. All the best on raising competition, innovation and sales HTC. Good luck!

  • SGB101

    Sense 2.0, iirc is what came on the HTC Desire/Bravo, and was very good. cant wait fot this device, sadly i cant see it staying stock for long. CM9 will be to much of a draw for me.

  • dVyper

    HTC are now the kings in my opinion

  • Paul Atreides

    Strip it down to 1.0, and offer add-ons through the market in your own HTC section, same goes for other manufacturers who want to push their apps/widgets/wallpapers etc. Win for everybody. I would like to see their take on the software buttons.

  • Ediliu

    Look beautiful I like that

  • Richard Yarrell

    Well being able to move forward it takes understanding what happened in the past. It takes a lot to admit that your products weren’t as quality as you wanted us to believe. It does leave a bad taste in a consumers mouth. I hope for better times for HTC because CHOICE is what makes android go around. Not having the same device as everyone else is such a great feeling. Happy 2012 to HTC…

    • squiddy20

      If choice really is “what makes android go around”, then why do you believe LG is such a shitty company? It’s really sad that on one hand, you say things like “Samsuck”, “AssT&T”, “Thunderdud”, and now call LG a “joke” and “useless”, among other stupid sayings, but on the other hand you preach about how “choice is king” and other ho-hum things that the world already knows and has known for centuries. If you really thought “choice is king” or that it “makes the android world go around”, you wouldn’t be talking smack about other companies, especially when you’ve only owned just one of their products for as little as 4 weeks. Just plain sad…
      Also, for the record, out of the countless times you’ve been so stupidly wrong, you’ve only admitted to being so once. Just once. Hmmm, I wonder what that says about you?

  • VS

    ICS Hardware acceleration + reduced workload from Sense 4.0 = Win in my book. Amaze 4G I’m using is sufficient right now with the current, resource heavy iteration of Sense, so it should really fly when the update rolls around (hoping for May at the latest).

    It’s a shame it’s a trade off in the One series with lack of SD card & removable battery but it’s probably because the vast majority of phone users dont dig too deeply into their phone features to see what it can do.

    Can it make calls? Check
    Can it text msg? Check
    Can it do web & social media? Check
    Can it do Angry Birds? Check

    16GB / 32GB is fine for ordinary phone users and the battery will last long enough for light / medium use throughout the day.

    I thought of getting the One X strictly for the camera improvements (supposed to be even better software and a dedicated chip for higher quality photos compared to Amaze 4G), but I like expandable SD and battery replacement options. So, I’ll stick with the Amaze 4G for now…unless the Padphone just really blows me away with it’s versatility!

  • robwhittaker

    Excited about the new range of phones that is coming out, but I think it’ll leave me in a pickle. Do I go with the nexus, the padfone or htc?

    Got HTC at the moment, but would like to go stock android, so hopefully they really have slimmed down sense, then it’ll be a contender

  • aranea

    This is a great strategy. Combined with a super phone like One X HTC may outsell SIII.

  • jacob

    Am i the only one who hates this look? It really annoys me that all these companies like samsung, lg, and now htc, are just defaulting to the ugly iphone style dock.

    Maybe sense was a little intrusive sometimes, but at least it looked nice, and the average person could tell there was a difference. now it looks exactly like the other 5 phones next to it on the shelf and barely different from the iphone.

    out of all the crappy skins manufacturers put over android, sense was the only one i considered actually using for a while. now ill just slap adw/cyanogenmod over it too without even blinking.