Most of the time that fragmentation is discussed it is in direct reference to different versions of Android running on different handsets. The cause of this fragmentation is usually identified as the sundry skins that manufacturers develop in order to differentiate their devices from others and create brand awareness and loyalty. Though critics and users have often called for stock Android to be at least an option on Android handsets (if not the standard), manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung have continued to create more and more invasive and intricate skins on the devices they offer to consumers. Though a lack of updates is certainly reason enough for users to be upset, a more important issue may be the very different experiences that are presented to consumers because of these skins.
If the average consumer were to pick up the HTC Sensation and then pick up the DROID Bionic, they might be inclined to believe that the phones run totally different operating systems. And in a sense (no pun intended), they do. A phone made by HTC and running Sense offers a completely different experience than a Motorola phone running Blur (or “Android with Motorola Enhancements” as Motorola inclined to call it these days) or a Samsung phone running TouchWiz.
These manufacturer skins have altered Android so much that something as simple as unlocking your screen is a fundamentally different experience on different Android phones. On a stock device like the Nexus S I simply slide the lock tab to unlock the screen, but on a TouchWiz device I push the lock screen away or complete a puzzle, on a Sense device I slide down the lock bar or slide the lock ring upward, and on a Motorola device I slide the lock tab which also varies in location from device to device. In other words, the first screen that a consumer sees in a store when looking at an Android phone can be completely different from the Android phone next to it. (more…)
It was only a matter of time, right? Last week we saw a version of HTC’s Sense 3.5 ported over to the Desire, so forming a team to work on bringing it to the DROID Incredible just seemed like a logical next step. And after looking at these screenshots, you can see that the team has made some progress by getting it booted and then fixing a ton of initial bugs in just a short few days. You won’t find a test build to flash at this time, so try as best as you can to remain patient. The 13-man team is working hard to get this out to the masses as soon as possible. (more…)
A first look of HTC’s new Sense 3.5 that is expected to come loaded on both the Vigor and Bliss, made the rounds last week thanks to XDA.cn. Today, we have a full 5-minute video walk-through of it thanks to that same brave Bliss tester.
So what’s new in version 3.5? A lot. We have a ton of fancy new animations, lock screen tweaks and enhancements, a new dock bar that includes shortcuts to just apps and phone, ability to add and remove home screens, more interactive widgets, and a sweet way to adjust the volume.
While Sense is clearly one of, if not the most polished skins of all, it can be a little overwhelming. It really transforms Android for the most part, but after looking at HTC’s record profits each year, you can tell that people are interested in something like that. (more…)
Remember yesterday how I said the HTC Bliss would have a new version of Sense? And it’s been upgraded to 3.5? Well XDA.cn did more digging into the Bliss and put together some screenshots of what they think is pretty close to the new interface.
The problem with Sense 3.0 is that HTC slapped a hardware requirement on it (must have dual-core) and said sorry about your luck to anyone that didn’t meet that mark. Apparently they are backtracking on this and XDA.cn says that older models of HTC phones should be able to run this updated UI. 3.5 will still use the ring style unlocking system that 3.0 did but it will most likely show more notifications for weather and messages than it did before. The Sense widgets have been updated as well as you can see pictured above. The weather widget covers almost the whole screen now, down to the two new buttons at the bottom, of for applications and one for the phone. (more…)
After exploring the HTCDev site, location of the almighty unlocking of the HTC bootloaders taking place later this year, a reader over at Android Central showed everyone a few things of interest. Included within the goodies are some screen shots of a Honeycomb tablet, running a version of Sense. It hasn’t been said whether this is just a developer version yet, or if this is exactly what we saw teased to be released on the HTC Puccini. (more…)
When the HTC EVO 3D was announced as running Sense 3.0, there were a few of us with Thunderbolts and Incredibles that were possibly a little jealous. That new lock screen was just too sexy to not envy, plus we love that the notification bar has built-in toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. Well, guess what? Some of our fine friends in the ROM game have already popped out fully-working Sense 3.0 Gingerbread ports for you to try out. Actually, I shouldn’t say “try out” since almost everything seems to be working on them and would easily hold up as your daily driver.
1. Download the ROM that fits your device and drop it on your SD card.
2. Boot into Clockwork Recovery and backup your current settings.
3. Then perform a factory reset/full wipe.
4. Load up the .zip of the ROM that you downloaded above.
According to a trademark filed over in Europe on the 19th, HTC is looking to take control of the words “HTC Sensation” leading many to believe that this will be the name for their tablet skin. “Sensation” could work. We all know that HTC’s custom UI for their phones goes by the name “Sense” so why not bring in a new off-shoot for their line of tablets that are expected to be here in the first half of 2011?
Here is a clip from the filing…
Mobile phones, smartphones, wireless phones, wireless devices, portable computers and personal digital assistants, computer hardware and software for mobile, portable and wireless devices; user interface software; computer hardware and software for user interfacing, telecommunications and telecommunications services; computer hardware and software for transmitting and receiving voice, image, data, audio, video and multimedia content; wireless modems; headsets, headsets with wireless transmission function, connection cables, cradles, mounts, face plates, batteries, power adaptors, chargers, cases, in-vehicle chargers, in-vehicle holders, remote controls, keyboards, microphones, loudspeakers, leather pouches for mobile phones.
What’s interesting, is the fact that I’m OK with seeing this filing and have no problem with HTC wanting to put a skin on their tablets. Sense UI is about as polished as it gets, and in some cases actually enhances their devices. While we know that instant pain is initiated at the mention of Motorola’s Blur, we actually don’t mind Sense.
Image after the break. (more…)