Walk-through of HTC BlinkFeed on the HTC One (video)

HTC BlinkFeed is the new home screen experience on the HTC One. It offers a Flipboard-like experience that I think will appeal to some smartphone owners, but frustrate others due to feed limitations.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

HTC conducted studies showing that people consume data in "snack" portions, and to address this usage it developed HTC BlinkFeed for the HTC One. I know when I look around on the commuter train and in stores, my experiences indicate people are indeed browsing on their phones for short periods of time.

The HTC representative at the HTC One launch event walked me through BlinkFeed, but now that I have my hands on an HTC One, I was able to spend a lot more time with it and come to a full understanding of how it works.

I want to be first let you know that I am testing out an international HTC One that doesn't have the final firmware installed. HTC was forced to rush out these devices, so there may be some tweaks still to come before retail release and I won't slam them for things such as battery life and misses here and there that may be addressed by shipping firmware.

HTC BlinkFeed is a new Android home screen experience that is core to the HTC Sense 5 user interface. Smartphone fans reading this blog tend to like a pure Google experience, but if you give HTC BlinkFeed an honest look from a consumer perspective, I think you may find it pretty compelling. When I showed my wife, she could have it set up to just have it showing her Facebook feed; she was sold, and I can't get one fast enough for her.

I present a pretty detailed walk-through of HTC BlinkFeed in the video below, but also wrote more below the video to give you a complete understanding of this new UI option.

The top of the first page of HTC BlinkFeed includes a weather widget and clock. The weather widget is pretty slick and I really like the color scheme in use with cool animations. I read people complaining there is a clock here with the clock in the upper right (Android clock), but tapping this one quickly get you to your alarms, world clock, stopwatch, and timer so I personally find it very useful to have prominently displayed.

When you first set up your HTC One, you are given options for the kind of data you want to appear in your HTC BlinkFeed. You will find options for information related to news, entertainment, sports, food, lifestyle, music, technology, and more. You can dive into categories and sub-categories to refine what you will see. Lastly, you can choose your own social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn) and apps such as calendar, Zoe Share, and more.

Unfortunately, with version 1.0 of HTC BlinkFeed you have to choose content from partners who have things set up with HTC. You cannot add your own custom URL or favorite websites at this time. I imagine we will see a future update that gives you more options, but for now there are plenty to choose from.

After selecting all the sources of data that you want to see in HTC BlinkFeed, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the information. Rest assured that this is completely controllable by you with just a couple of taps, so you are still in charge for the most part. Pull down the BlinkFeed and then tap on the upper left corner. Tap on what you want to appear; options include highlights (again another customizable section), news, specific site data such as from CNET, broad categories such as sport or science, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Thus, with a couple of taps you can turn your soccer-focused BlinkFeed into a Facebook focused BlinkFeed. It really is quite refreshing and enjoyable.

I found I can go down 20 full screens in BlinkFeed and then jump up to the top with a simple tap at the top of the display. Tapping on a specific item, you want to know more about opens up that item in a feed reader or the specific app (such as Facebook or Twitter). You can then read more and sometimes choose to go to a website for even more content. Returning to BlinkFeed is always just a simple tap of the Home button away.

You can also quickly post status updates to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, or LinkedIn from the top of the HTC BlinkFeed content by tapping on the pencil icon.

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