HTC Sense 4 may set the bar for Android smartphones

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.

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?

Related coverage