HTC Sense 4 may set the bar for Android smartphones

HTC Sense 4 may set the bar for Android smartphones

Summary: Competition in the Android smartphone space will continue and manufacturers are working hard to earn your business. HTC's new Sense 4.0 UI may be the best out there in a crowded Android market.

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I admit to expressing concerns about Android fragmentation, but after using ICS on my Galaxy Nexus for a couple of months I am really love the Android 4 experience. I don't agree with what Larry wrote about Android racing to the bottom and personally think this extreme competition in the Android space is good for all of us and is especially quite exciting for mobile enthusiasts. We are seeing Samsung lead with exciting classes of devices, Motorola aiming squarely at the enterprise market, and now HTC getting serious about improving thanks in large part to its new HTC Sense 4 functionality.

My first Android device was an HTC unit, the T-Mobile G1, my Android tablet is an HTC Flyer, and my current preferred Windows Phone is the HTC Radar 4G and I consider myself a fan of HTC's work. I am impressed by what I see with the new HTC One series hardware, but even more impressed with Sense 4. I have always been a fan of HTC Sense from the days of the HTC Touch Diamond and on to the HTC Amaze 4G in large part due to the optimized Exchange experience, valuable utilities, and useful widgets. HTC Sense 4 looks to cut the fat and get back to the essentials while also offering new capabilities to attempt to make HTC stand out above the crowded Android space.

The HTC Amaze 4G has an awesome camera with both still image and video capture hardware buttons and some amazing camera software utilities. HTC is now bringing that experience, with significant improvements, to new devices with HTC Sense 4. HTC states that the camera is the third most used feature on smartphones, after making calls and browsing the web, and thus has their new ImageSense design that lets you take photos in 0.7 seconds with a 0.2 second autofocus. The brightness of the LED flash will adjust based on distance to the subject, you can grab a still image while shooting HD video, and HDR mode is improved and even shown off against the iPhone 4S.

HTC Sense 4 now includes an integrated Beats Audio experience that brings these enhancements to the entire device rather than just a limited HTC apps experience. You will now be able to experience Beats Audio in all applications, including third party apps like Spotify, Slacker Radio, and even in games. I have yet to try a device with Beats Audio so I cannot tell you about any personal experiences with it, but I am looking forward to trying out a new device where the experience is not limited.

HTC also partnered with Dropbox to deliver a whopping 25GB of online storage to HTC One customers for free for two years. You can probably pay for the storage after two years or maybe just pick up another HTC One device to extend the free offer.

You will still get the excellent lock screen functionality, incredible Exchange email client, HTC widgets, and much more in HTC Sense 4 and I can't wait to try out one of the device with this new user interface. I personally can't stand Samsung TouchWIZ UI, but haven't used the latest Motorola devices to judge their custom UI. Do you like HTC's Sense 4 improvements?

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Topics: HTC, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

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9 comments
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  • HTC Thunderbolt

    Last year (Feb 2011) around this time HTC had put out Thunderbolt, I liked the phone & bought it, but it was plagued with bugs until Dec 2011. There are volumes on the internet about the issues with the phone. It took them (HTC) that many months to address these issues. Taking a chance with a 2 year contract or no-contract on a brand-new HTC phone, need to think about that real-hard! They do not stand behind their product, their stock has already taken a big-dip.
    sxb101029
  • Just installing OEM/Carrier Software Already

    Never met any OEM "value added" software that actually added value for the customer or did anything but made the system less useful. Phone manufacturers need to differentiate on hardware and price. Wireless network operators need to differentiate based on network speed, availability, and price. Both of them need to quit pretending (to themselves mostly) that customers will prefer their products because of software they have added to it.
    txscott
    • I think the opposite. It is mostly about the software.

      There really isn't that much difference in the hardware. The user experience is mainly the software. And I would go as far as to say the reason that people buy one phone over another is not predominantly the hardware but the software. The reason someone buys an iPhone will be because of ease of use. Some indeed will buy it because of the camera or something else. Most folks are not hardware geeks and won't know the clock speed or the type of chips in the device, many won't know how much memory it has or how many MP the camera has.
      DevGuy_z
      • Software Differentiation

        You certainly buy an iPhone (if you do) for the software. In that sense its AAPL against the world. But no one buys an HTC over a Moto or a Samsung for the difference in the interface. In fact most I know wish the darned things had a standardized interface. Just like on PC's (non Macs), the makers have been unsuccessful marketing their systems based on value add interface features so will non iPhone phone makers. You don't buy a Sammy, HTC or Moto, you buy an Android phone, just like you buy a Windows PC. Its Android vs. iPhone just like its Windows vs. Mac. Those are the brands that matter and where differentiation occurs.

        The good news is that Android will win the volume war, just like Windows did. The bad news for the OEM's and carriers is that their products are commodities unless they can figure out how to compete with the hardware (thinner, lighter, more battery life, faster, more capacity, higher pixel density, better cameras, better speakers, etc).

        The PC battlefield is littered with the corpses of companies that failed in that same type of competition.
        txscott
      • not really..

        @ rshokl

        I have to completely disagree with you. Many people buy for a combination of both. They want the fastes harwarde and best cameras while they want a familar simplistic customizable UI. HHTC sense is by far the best UI ever put out. I have used samsung phones and motorola phones but none compare to the easy and beauty of the HTC stock sense. I base my decision on the maker, the hardware, the UI it has or can be set to with roms and of course carrier or price. The iphone has never been an option due to it failing almost all of those parameters. A boring ugly ui thats locked down, it was on the worse carrier AT&T, the phone was way over priced with such feature lacking. I picked my evo de to htc sleek designs, android custom ability, the HTC sense UI is just sleek quick and simple to use or customize, and I was able to take it to boost unlimited with no contract or data limits.
        Fletchguy
    • It's definitely about the software.

      What's the first thing people do when they walk into store to get a new phone? Pick it up and start messing with the UI. If they like it and they can figure it out and it comes pre-loaded with some apps (hey, those are software too!) they want, they get it. I have never heard anyone ask a salesperson about the processor or memory type and only rarely about the display, or amount of memory and storage capabilities. Sure there are some out there who buy based on those things, but for most it boils down to "can I surf the net and watch videos, does it do e-mail, can I SKYPE on it, does it take pretty pictures and can I make it work without a huge learning curve?" The hardware really is pretty much all the same - it's the software that sets them apart. The UI differences between my wife's Moto Droid 2 and my HTC Incredible are HUGE, and I wouldn't want her phone for anything, yet there's probably little to no difference in the hardware capability.

      If folks were smart, they would start insisting on longer battery life for these devices instead of the pathetic talk/use times the manufacturers give us. And even that is partially software related.
      Heck if I Know
  • htc

    Good article, I agree with you.
    HTC is much better than the competition, like plastic Samsung or the rotten apple
    jcmos2
  • HTC has gone long way since its G1 android smatphone

    HTC has gone long way from HTC g1 smartphone.From ARM-based, dual-core CPU to latest Tegra 3 Quad core processor ,htc has made lot of progress,after successful stint by htc evo,htc is coming in news again with htc sense 4.0 with added features to its sense ui.
    r tripathi
    www.mobitily.com
    raj.tripathi
  • Sense??

    I had a Tilt 2 HTC that although underpowered was a nice phone. I used the Sense interface for 2 weeks before switching to a third party interface. I don't want to have to scroll anywhere to see the status of current communications. Windows Phone is still the most efficient interface. Pretty only counts for 2 seconds until you enter an app and t is no onger visable anyway.
    dlangdon01