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With the introduction of the HTC One and Sense 5, HTC is taking a dramatically new approach the home screen experience, marking their “most radical shift in user experience since introducing Sense in 2009.” After Sense 4 released in 2012, HTC decided to take a step back and look at the overall experience of their customers with fresh eyes. Thanks to customer interviews and personal feedback, HTC became far more observant about how their customer base was using their smartphone. So what did they learn?
- Most people don’t differentiate between apps and widgets.
- Widgets aren’t widely used – weather, clock and music are the most used and after that, fewer than 10% of customers use any other widgets.
- Most of you don’t modify your home screens much. In fact, after the first month of use, approximately 80% of you don’t change your home screens any more.
So what did HTC have to do? They had to reinvent Sense with a new whole approach to the home screen. This led to BlinkFeed and the notion that every time you open your home screen, you’ll see fresh content from friends, social networks or one of HTC’s “premier content partners” that is relevant specifically to you as the customer. The removal of home screen widgets marks a dramatic shift in Sense as a platform, and for HTC as a smartphone manufacturer. The good news is that One has already received plenty of early applause from first hands-on for its BlinkFeed approach, but the true test will be once its in the hands of customers the world over.
HTC’s blog post is already a few days old and the idea that widgets aren’t nearly as popular as some might think has already been met with plenty of skepticism. As a smartphone owner that flips back and forth between Android, Windows Phone and iOS, I’ve grown accustomed to not using widgets at all and in that regard, I agree with HTC. Personally, I don’t care for numerous home screens with plenty of widgets and I think the concept of BlinkFeed is awesome. However, concept is one thing, execution is something else so I will withhold judgement until I can spend some time with BlinkFeed, but I know I’m excited to try something new. Are you?