First Impressions Of HTC Sense 4.0 Arrives To The Internets

HTC Sense is undoubtedly one of the most well-known skins among all the Android platforms — with its huge clock it’s both distinctive and instantly recognizable. Well, the boys at PocketNow had a chance to check out a non-final version of HTC Sense 4.0 who have been told to expect its arrival on upcoming HTC devices like the HTC Ville and HTC Edge.

First and foremost we’re told to look out for an emphasis on improved typography and a reduction of the visual clutter that has plagued Sense since its beginnings. For example, turning the device into landscape orientation will yield tabs on the right, instead of on the bottom to help maximize the amount of content that is displayed on the screen. The old-fashioned bubbly menus will also change to match the Ice Cream Sandwich simplified look with gray sliders and buttons with rounded edges.

A notable change or missing piece depending on how you view it, are on-screen keys in Ice Cream Sandwich, which are absent HTC Sense 4.0. HTC will continue to ship devices with “physical” buttons and not on-display ones. Though we should note that future HTC devices with Sense 4.0 will arrive with three buttons, rather than the 4 buttons we’ve become familiar with.

The new task switcher provides a card-like three-dimensional view of open tasks though PocketNow adds they found the screen a little cumbersome. The lockscreen includes additional functionality as well with an accumulation of notifications, similar to iOS 5, display a task list, see a list of favorite people or access the notification shade without unlocking.

The email client has also been overhauled and is now billed as the “best-looking and most functional email client available for Android.” Overall, the email client adds some new functionality along with improved battery life when using an Exchange account with push email. Multiple messages are now selected using circles rather than checkmarks, multiple messages are also reflected by a numeric indicator that will show the associated messages with a “great-looking depth effect” when pushed.

The web browser now includes a Reader feature, similar to iOS 5 that strips away ads, but not images making an article cleaner and easier to consume. There is also the addition of new Read Later and Watch Later functions allowing you to mark content for later reading or watch with a corresponding widget on the home screen. Guest mode is a new addition that allows the owner to specify which apps to display if a guest wants to use the phone.

The camera introduces a new feature that prevents a photo from being spoiled by a blinking subject. When the camera detects faces it will take five consecutive photographs and intelligently pick the best photo. HTC Sense 4.0 will also include deep integration with DropBox throwing in an addition 50GB’s of storage. DropBox storage will be handled like another drive on the phone with email attachments coming from inside DropBox adding a url link to the DropBox folder and not the actual file, saving data.

Beats audio will be universal in HTC Sense 4.0, allowing the feature to work with third-party apps such as Pandora. Previously, Beats only worked with the default music application.

Overall, it seems like the new HTC Sense 4.0 is an exciting skin on top of Android, that is, if you like skins on top of your Android. Unfortunately, PocketNow wasn’t able to offer any pictures to showcase their hands on however, we’re just a month away from Mobile World Congress and we can expect a world debut of Sense 4.0 there.


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  • Littlesis1774

    tired of android city

    • I drove my ass out of android city on a windows phone and haven’t looked back. Good riddance!

  • Deon Davis

    I cant wait until a rom is leaked and its back ported to the mytouch 4g!

  • Sfongky

    will this be the ICS update for htc amaze?

    • J-Hop2o6

      HTC said the Sensation (maybe with its limited RAM), and Amaze 4G will be updated to ICS. Will all these 4.0 features make it to 2011 devices? Who knows.

  • Anonymous

    50GB of Dropbox space??? Hell yea!

  • Anonymous

    Future phones launching with three physical buttons doesn’t really make any sense. Android 4.0 still requires a Menu button for phones with physical keys (because it’s required for a huge amount of legacy software) so the three keys they’re talking about have to be Back, Home, and Menu. That doesn’t match the three button layout of the Galaxy Nexus, nor does it give you quick access to the multitasking list like the Galaxy Nexus does.

    They’re just eliminating the Search key, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Search key is technically optional in Android 4.0, but the Search key has been technically optional in every version of Android ever released. Why would they make that change now, and what does it have to do with Android 4.0?

    ICS also gives a better user experience on phones without physical keys
    because it puts an on-screen overflow button on the Action Bar of newer
    apps designed with ICS in mind (usually in the top right). That same app running on a phone with
    hardware keys won’t show the overflow menu icon because you’re expected to
    hit the menu key to get access to those same options. That means users with physical keys lose the on-screen hint that additional options exist, which is a shame.

    • J-Hop2o6

      Hold the Home button to pop up the Recent Apps/Multitask list. Been there since the 1.X/2.X days.

  • JadeDOS4

    Sense is crappy, bloated, buggy and bogs down the user experience. Experience ICS the way it was designed. Why on earth would you put a skin ON TOP of a fast and perfectly working interface??

    • Just Root It

      I completely agree. Imagine how unpopular iPhone would be if they had to have some ridicules skin placed on my a manufacturer.
      Android would Own the market and shoot far past iPhone if we could just get some decent high-end Vanilla phones.

  • 21stNow

    Reading through all of that makes me realize that I have lost more patience than I thought with manufacturer skins.  I stood up for Sense when people hated it.  I thought that it was cute; but the functionality that it adds is minimal at this point. 

    After using ICS on a Galaxy Nexus, I can’t imagine a skin on top of that.  Going back one year ago when I used Gingerbread on a Nexus S, I could easily see Touchwiz and Sense on top of that.  Now, it seems like a skin would be clunky and useless on top of ICS.  I could use the Touchwiz-styled notification shade, but that’s all I would want.

  • JamesJ

    forget bloated htc sense. My mom owns the mytouch 3g slide…its been giving her problems every single day (keep in mind its her second since she had to exchange her first one for battery problems).
    Every day my mom has email problems with her phone..she has to delete and re-add her 3 yahoo accounts 3 to 4 times a week to receive her emails. Im getting her a G2 this week .

  • MjH

    I tend to agree that Sense seems a little bloated.  I have a Sensation 4G and I started noticing that Sense would crash with a white “HTC” screen then come up with a “loading…” symbol. This is not good when I need to make a quick call and need to wait for a skin to reload itself – not acceptable.  I liked the “look and feel” but can’t stand the delays.  I even reset my phone to factory after the latest Sensation OTA, and the reloading issue is still there.  Frankly, I would like a stock ICS experience with the inclusion of HTC apps and widgets. Isn’t there a happy medium? I have found the HTC email client the best yet for Exchange, and I appreciate many of the simple widgets.  But drop the skin if it is going to slow down the phone functions, it makes people like me load a different launcher because we can’t tolerate the crashes and delays.

    • Deon Davis

      The optimized Sense roms from devs run a lot better then the stock sense roms. Htc needs to do a better job with hardware optimization. The good news is that with ics built in hardware acceleration it should run fine!  

      • MjH

        I agree that dev ROMs run better.  I used to be a bit of a ROM junkie on my Vibrant, and even with this Sensation.  I decided to stop using 3rd party ROMs, because there is always that “one little thing” that doesn’t quite work right.  In my case, the ICS ROM Insertcoin kept failing with WiFi calling, and even the dialer would appear to freeze at times.  I just decided to live with the Sense bloat and run a different launcher than have a ROM where some things just don’t work.  In general everything works great with the stock Sensation ROM it came with (with the latest update), just not Sense… which I guess could drive many to a 3rd party ROM.  I really think they should give users an option to turn off Sense and keep the widgets/apps.  With other launchers you lose the HTC widgets.

        • J-Hop2o6

          Sense 3.0 + low RAM (768MB) = not enough RAM for yourself AND Sense 3.0. The Amaze 4G has 1GB which is a good amount. But hopefully HTC optimized and cleaned up the Sense code to be more light and efficient. But 1GB of RAM should be the minimum with 1.5 – 2GB recommended.

        • Deon Davis

          I have 768 mb of ram with sense 3.5 on my mytouch4g which runs fine, the stock sensation sense rom is very unotimized and why thats it run so crappy.

        • Justamazing87

          It’s not the version of sense it’s the ram as stated by the previous guy. Sense 3.5 is not a step up from 3.0 it is a watered down sense 3.0 so phones with lower ram can use sense without the lag

        • Anonymous

          I wouldn’t say it’s watered down since it adds functionality and is considerably more fluid and therefore a step up… At least on my hd2…

    • Lsf

      It’s not the ROM or OS that is to blame. You have most likely installed some app from the marketplace that is causing this screen “reboot”. I am still on stock ROM on my Sensation 4G and have experienced similar issues. Now the phone is working perfectly after I have removed the interfering app. The problem is there is no way to know which app from the marketplace is foolproof. Only install the ones that you need one by one.  

  • JBLmobileG1

    Any idea if there are any high end devices in the future that will be Vanilla only? I prefer to have as close to stock Android as possible. First it was the G1 for me followed by the Nexus One and now the G2. I like pure Android but I prefer not to have 3rd party roms to get it. It would be nice if a phone manufacturer gave you the option on setup.

    • J-Hop2o6

      Your only choice really for a high end device is 3rd party support (aka custom roms) or a Nexus phone.

      • Lazera Thompson

        Well dont forget the Tmobile “G’ Series of Vanilla devices :/ 

        • J-Hop2o6

           Using a G2 now. But who knows what Tmo is gonna do with the G series. Using LG was a horrible idea.

  • Enoel69

    DOES HTC HAVE THE BALLS TO MAKE A GSM PENTA-BAND 3G/HSPA+21 or 42 PURE VANILLA ICS PHONE??? HOPE TMOBILE WILL REQUEST HTC TO MAKE THEM A PURE VANILLA ANDROID ICE PHONE. Will love to see an HTC 4.7″ 720p HD Super Amoled screen device with very little bezel and the space on the top and bottom from where the screen ends very minimal as well. Make that a Quad core 1.5 GHZ S4 chip, GSM pentaband 3G/HSPA+42 with 32GB onboard storage and 32GB SD card slot, 2GB RAM, 12Mpx rear and 2Mpx front cams, max height 130mm, width 68 mm, depth 10mm and a 2000+ mAh battery.

  • JBLmobileG1

    Sounds good to me… now hopefully it becomes a reality by the end of this year. LOL

    • JBLmobileG1

      I think maybe they should up it to use their 82mbps if it does become a reality though.

  • This article lost me at ”
    HTC devices with Sense 4.0 will arrive with three buttons, rather than the 4 buttons we’ve become familiar with.” If this is true, I’m no longer buying a HTC phone. I use ALL, you here me HTC; ALL of the buttons!!! 

    The HOME button is a “clear all” no matter what you’re doing.
    The BACK button removes the need for a tiny little (x) box in the top right corner of an app or program
    The MENU button allows for customization (one of the MAIN features of Android)
    The SEARCH button. Thee most used button on the phone. 1) One button operation (Great for handicap people) 2) The only way to find what you’re looking for using the HTC music app built into Sense 3) A button takes up WAY less screen real estate that stupid Search bar, that won’t be open in other app.

    Having three buttons also breaks old app that people PAID for.

    Why HTC is doing this is beyond me.

    • Anonymous

      They’re doing that because Ice Cream Sandwich is made with 3 buttons in mind…

      • But almost all non-us Android been had three buttons LONG before ICS. Removing the search button makes the phone completely useless for me.

        • Anonymous

          oo i was unaware of that

  • I never use the Search button so yeah :D

  • Steve

    I want to know if Sense 4.0 will be rolled out with ICS updates for existing phones…

    • andzy

      probably not, i heard that the amaze and the sensation will have sense 3.6 on top of ICS