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HTC: Our Sense UI Got Too Bloated, Time to Bring Simple Back

HTC’s chief product officer Kouji Kodera sat down with Pocket-Lint this week to admit that their Sense UI had gotten far too complicated and cluttered in the last couple of releases. From the time Sense originated, HTC had always wanted to keep things simple and easy to understand, but as their skin grew with features, so did the bloat. Going forward with Sense 4.0 and their new One Series, they will attempt to slim things back down:

“There where too many things in there,” Kodera continues. “Even on the home screen we had four or five icons before consumers got a chance to add things themselves. For the HTC One range we have taken it down to Sense 2 again.”

And in case you were wondering, they are attempting to keep Ice Cream Sandwich as untouched as possible. While I find that sort of an overstatement after seeing a couple of Sense 4.0 videos and screenshots, we should at least expect to see less in your face 3D transitions, spinning wheels, and other performance decreasing UI tweaks:

“What we’ve done right now is a good mixture of keeping Sense and Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich element in a good balance. We haven’t tried to change everything here. We have kept a lot of the ICS element but still added the Sense flavour on top of it.”

As someone that was once a fan of Sense, but found it less appealing in the 3.0+ phases, I’m actually pleased to hear this news. HTC needs to go back to their clean and easy-to-understand UI. Looking forward to the One Series or whatever it is they plan to release on Verizon to try to compete with it.

Via:  Pocket-Lint

  • I for one have never been against Sense.   In fact on the whole there are elements I prefer to the traditional android UI (Contacts ect)

    As long as they keep the lockscreens from Sense 3.0+ such as weather I will be happy

  • I loved my Incredible before it bit the dust, and with Motorola not showing signs of changing their booloader policies, HTC is the only company I would buy a phone from. That said, it does not matter who makes the next Nexus, I would seriously consider it.

  • GazaIan

    “And in case you were wondering, they are attempting to keep Ice Cream Sandwich as untouched as possible. While I find that sort of an overstatement after seeing a couple of Sense 4.0 videos and screenshots, we should at least expect to see less in your face 3D transitions, spinning wheels, and other performance decreasing UI tweaks”

    Trust me, Kellex, it’s a lot different that it looked on video. There really is a fair amount of both ICS and Sense in there, and you’ll see the ICS. I used Sense 4 on my Sensation with Virtuous S4X and it wasn’t half bad. Only thing is, ICS has a drastic aesthetic difference than Sense. And it still looks bloated from the outside, I mean the ROM is 500 freaking MB.

  • Cmonnats23

    It seems to me HTC is doing everything correct! After a dissapointing 2011 it seems they are really turning a new page. Looking mighty fine HTC, mighty fine.

    • Calculatorwatch

      I hope so, they were probably my favorite manufacturer at the start of this year but they’ve really fallen behind. I also hope they continue to update old devices because my friend just bought a Vivid and I already feel bad for him for still being on Gingerbread. Sense 3.0 is blech but it sounds like 4.0 will be a lot better.

  • I love coming on here and reading how all these folks feel that manufacturers should add this and remove that. It’s like most people on these tech blogs forget that we are the 1% of users that want our phones bare and focus on specs. I know many common users that are perfectly fine with Sense and love it. If someone has such a problem with Sense, then don’t buy an HTC phone. Makes sense to me…

    • TC Infantino

      NO, no…You don’t have to abandon the quality HTC hardware just because you are not a fan of Sense.  I think almost all the HTC phones are now unlockable, so you can root, ROM, and install a Sense-free ROM.

  • Steve

    great now that we have the horsepower to run it smoothly they pull this…artards

  • Tyler Casilio

    Noooo  I like the look of the Sense that I have on my Rezound right now! Why HTC!! Whyyyy

  • I have had the Rezound for a week.  I have been giving sense a chance and I like the lock screen… I’m split on the rest.  It’s different, but doesn’t offer very much flexibility, which I have gotten used to with my Droid 1.  Hope they release the upgrade to ICS soon. Seeing as they have it functioning on their new devices, hopefully it won’t be too much longer … than summer. :-/ 

  • Mule0331

    Only one comment in that quote really made me shake my head. The home screen had 4 or 5 icons on it before the user got a chance to add things themselves. Having owned every Android device on VZW, the first thing I always do is delete all icons, and start from 5 to 7 blank screens. So powering on a device and seeing icons means nothing.

  • CaptainHowdy13

    Maybe “Google did it right, were taking our skin away” ORRRRRRRR “Were letting you choose if you want our skin you can install it on your own”

  • Balls

    they just noticed this now? how long as the droidlife/xda community been saying this


  • Meticode

    I just upgraded to the Rezound, I hope it gets updated with less sense on the ICS upgrade coming sometime this year.

    • TC Infantino

      Don’t know if you are into unlocking, rooting and ROMing, but there are some top quality ROMs out right now with the sense removed.  I think there is also at least one ICS ROM in the works, though I am not sure how complete it is.  These are good options.

  • steve30x

    Actually if they keep the ring to unlock with your choice of shortcuts and the nice 3d weather unlock effect and keep the rest stock that would make “sense”.. 😉

    • CORYK333

      Actually it would make “a little sense” 🙂

  • “Our MotoBlur got way too bloated. Time to bring simple back.”

    Oh, how I long to hear those words. {{v_v}}

    • Alex Lipford

      Umm have you used a recent Moto device?? They already did this half a year ago. The new Blur is by far the least intrusive of any major manufacturer’s skin.

      Haters gonna hate I guess

      • A polished turd is still a turd.

        By the way, you’re lying. Blur is still as much of a laggy resource hog as ever. {{-_-}}

  • Mmoreimi

    Am I the only one who really enjoys SenseUI v3.5 on the Rezound?

    • You might be. 😛

      •  Okay, Gucci Mane. {{-_-}}

      • nwd1911

        I like a lot of things about Sense 3.5, but I am more looking forward to ICS and Sense 4.0 (if I get to see it this year).

    • htc1

      No, these guys just think their cool saying they don’t like it. I got the Gnex and spend all day trying to find sense like widgets to make the phone business usable. Guess what I can’t.

      you and millions other enjoy it, they just won’t admit it.
      The sense calendar, weather and even twitter client (peep) are unmatched !!!!!!! I said “UNMATCHED”

      • Turb0wned

        Ummm…. No than you.

        • Turb0wned


    • nah, I like the look of sense, just dislike the “weight” of it on the phone

    • TC Infantino

      No, you are not the only one.  My Rezound is rooted and ROM’d and running a clean (no bloatware) Sense 3.5 GB ROM.  I could have installed the same thing but without the Sense, but I actually like Sense, the features are very cool, and I like how it incorporates all your contacts from your social media, your email, and your phone contacts, all together Linking them in your people file.  That is one of the many things that is great about Sense, now I don’t have double or more listings for the same people in my contacts list.

  • Let’s hope they treat us “rezounders” to this new UI.

  • Jer85008

    Everyone, keep your “I hate Sense” comments to yourself, or save them for the next “What do you think of Sense” poll.  We all know you hate it, and would NEVER buy anything but a pure Nexus device.

    • r0lct

      While I get your point I doubt all the Sense haters are Nexus fans.  There’s a large contingency of Moto fans here that I’m sure are doing an equal amount of hating.

      • kixofmyg0t

        There’s a much larger pool of Moto-haters here too. 

        Yet everyone wants Moto to make the next Nexus. That baffles me. 

        • r0lct

          Those polls show you there are a lot of closet Moto fans.  While their comments are full of hate, their hearts are full of Moto love.

          • Jer85008

            I would purchase a Moto Nexus device. Nobody beats their hardware.

          • angermeans

            No what it shows is that once again Moto has the trendiest phone (DROID!). Half the people out there dont even know that a Droid runs Android and that the OS is a Google product. It has the biggest budget. This is the reason that we see the polls the way they are. I dont want a watered down and the overly skinned Android experience that Moto/Verizon think I want and need. What I want is the Google Nexus line of thinking. I bought into Android so I could tinker dammit. Not be locked into a horrible looking and performing skin paired with a last gen and ugly screen that wont see the latest Android OS update until 6 months after the competition because Moto is too busy releasing 10 phones and squeezing every penny they can out of their customers and then pushing the blame on others like Google and Verizon that they cannot make an unbuggy and fast update. I dont trust a company like that at all. 

        • Steve Benson

          People just want the Moto hardware, not their software in any shape or form. A Moto Nexus would be the perfect marriage of hardware and software in my opinion.

        • MKader17

          That because no one hates Moto’s hardware; They hate locked bootloaders and incremental upgrades. With a Nexus made by Motorola you eliminate the need to worry about either of those.

          • angermeans

            Not exactly people often forget that Moto had a Nexus in the worlds first Android 3.0 tablet. They botched that right out the gate. If i have my way HTC will be making the next Nexus and Google keeps Android and Moto 2 miles away from each other. 

        • thajack

          Because a Moto Nexus wouldn’t have Blur. I don’t think too many people gripe about Moto’s hardware, it’s the software that sucks so bad.

          • angermeans

            +1 what this guy says

        • angermeans

          This also makes my head spin. The closest we will ever see to a Moto Nexus is the OG Droid and I’m happy for it. I dont Motorola to have anything to do with another one of my devices. Moto had a Nexus in the Xoom and they completely messed it up and abandoned it. 

    • AlexKCMO

      I can’t wait for another 2 years when Google is on Lollipop and Verizon hasn’t had a Nexus on their service because of how they screwed up this one.  All these people will have to give up their unlimited data and switch carriers, or buy a non-nexus.

      Never say never people.

  • chris125

    about time. sense was a battery hog and hopefully this will help with battery life.

  • lacokanosta

    These people havent actually used their devices then because sense rocks

  • I’ll reserve my final judgement until I actually play with a One device, but I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Sense 4.0, especially the multitasking. That looks like an improvement over ICS. Hopefully the multitasking doesn’t lag like it does in ICS. Pushing content to a TV also looks really simple. It’s good to see HTC back in the game. 

  • Mchl496

    Sense will just be the sprinkles on my ice cream sandwhich.

    • Michael_NM

      Which sand? 😉

  • xFenixKnightx

    I would honestly love it if HTC would scrap Sense except the widgets. Make a stock ICS phone but still add your widgets HTC. Thanks!

  • Will my Rezound get the same love? That is my concern. I’m glad they wised up and realized a bloated skin wasn’t needed, but it doesn’t help much if it is only on future products. I want a streamlined sense on my current phone, not the requirement to spend more money to get rid of things I don’t want.


    • kixofmyg0t

      Why? Blur is the lightest and least intrusive skin out of the big 3. They listened like a year ago. 

      • htc1

        Nice try. Blur is the worse of them all. Sense is twenty times better.

        • Mike

           Who told you that opinion?

      • Dirk Diggler

        Yet they still take out slow updates. Even the small changes they do make it for an ugly ass skin.

      • Steve

        you forgot to say ugly as sin..

        • kixofmyg0t

          Its worlds better than stock GB. Maybe not ICS ill agree but GB for sure.

      • thajack

        You lost me at “They listened like a year ago.”

      • angermeans

        No it is not. It is by far not one of the lightest and least intrusive skins. It is dog ugly and changes almost every facet of GB. How is every screen even down the apps icons “less intrusive” get off the Moto juice my friend and you will see that Moto’s idea of Android is not a where Android should be. They have control of everything down to even the bootloader. I would argue that they are the most intrusive of all the skins. Not to mention it is by far the ugliest even more so than TouchWiz

        • kixofmyg0t

          Blur the most intrusive? LOL Go try sense 3.5 and get back to me. 

  • The only good Sense is no Sense.

  • xFenixKnightx

    “While I find that sort of an overstatement after seeing a couple of Sense 4.0 videos and screenshots, we should at least expect to see less in your face 3D transitions, spinning wheels, and other performance decreasing UI tweaks:”
    Yet those things are still there right? Sans the continuous carousel.

    • They’re not just performance decreasing.  They’re experience decreasing.  Even if all those animations and transitions didn’t affect performance or battery life one bit, they’d still be stupid.

      • xFenixKnightx

        Im with you. I dont like them. Im more of a straight plain jane left and right swipe with no fancy stiff going on.

        Last time I saw my cousin unlock her phone and it looked like a circus act. Very silly.

        • Yeah, and I HATE homescreen transition animations.  Yuk.  Simple and elegant is the way to go.  I’m not against animations, but they should be understated and fast.

  • Mister_Eff

    I was never a fan of Sense. I started with the original Droid and I like my stock android. Perhaps a launcher on top of stock that subtly changes some things and adds features but other than that keep it off of my phone. Especially with ICS.

  • Jdstell

    Less OEM UI bloat is great news! 

    • thajack

      They just mean Sense will be less bloated, look like Gingerbread instead of ICS.

      All of the carrier bloat will still be there, I’m sure.

  • If I plugged my Souls by Ludacris into the One series, would life on this planet cease to exist?

  • Jak_341

    Too bad most fielded HTC phones wilk not see 4.0. And rhe fragmentation goes on and on. Like others said, stock or nothing.

  • EC8CH

    So how does this explain their rejection of the ICS software buttons?

    • Eric Richardson

      Software buttons are just an option. They aren’t “rejecting” anything, only using a different option. 

      • EC8CH

        True, but I don’t agree with their decision.  I like having a phone where the buttons are customizable and not locked down because they are part of the hardware.

        • Agreed. Although I love my Nexus and ICS and love that I can modify my soft key for the menu
          button. Let me choose or at least give me the opportunity. 

  • New_Guy

    That’s how I like to hear a manufacturer talk. Man, with HTCDev.com and now this, HTC is “quietly” becoming my favorite OEM.

    • Elevate HTC is another great program they’ve recently started.  At this rate, HTC will definitely be my next device.

  • Nexus or nothing.  Although I would love to see a Moto device get Nexus instead.  I have zero faith in HTC’s builds.

  • That’s awesome.

    I still won’t buy anything but a Nexus.

    • John

      hah. my thoughts exactly

    • majorhunadadun

      I won’t buy anything but an HTC especially after owning a Nexus.

      • My GNex is leaps and bounds better than my Thunderbolt, even when it was running 

        CM7, which was a big improvement over Sense.
        To each their own, I suppose.

        • majorhunadadun

          Well I agree with you there sir! It ain’t better than the Rezound though…

    • Ugh.  After getting my Nex…I agree.  This thing is so nice.  And the development is killer!
      I sure hope Verizon doesn’t pass on the next couple =/

      • Honestly, Google would have to seriously botch (like a huge F-up) the next Nexus before I would consider another phone.

  • Cantuckee

    I just want that transparent notification bar

  • Michael_NM

    Kudos HTC, now that makes sense!

    • normmcgarry

      Actually it makes for less sense. 😉

      • Michael_NM

        Less sense is good sense. 🙂

        • New_Guy

          HA! Good one =).

        • So you’re saying good sense is nonsense?

          • Michael_NM

            In a sense, I suppose I am. To me it’s just common sense. 🙂

      • EC8CH

        so if I buy a non-HTC phone is that just nonsense?

        • Michael_NM

          Some manufacturers try to blur or whiz on your nonsense. 🙂

          • Steve Benson

            I see what you did there 🙂

          • Walters

            “Sense got too complicated”
            No sh$t Sherlock, what was your first clue?

    • feztheforeigner

      I’d really like to see an even bigger screen with on-screen virtual buttons.

  • MFG

    I will never buy an HTC device unless it’s a Nexus. 

  • Finally some manufacturer with a brain! 

  • Michael Forte

    Funny, because last time I checked, Sense 4 looks nothing like ICS.

    • When I see that screenshot, all I see is Gingerbread.

  • John

    Less talk more action

    • Greyhame

      My sentiments exactly. This is all well and good, but I won’t believe it til I see it.