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Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

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Journeyman

Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

I am starting to think that HTC's approach in customizing the OS on each device is best suited to an OS like Windows Mobile, which is not updated often and is not geared to serve the needs of everyday consumers who want a smartphone.

Just from looking at the previews of Android 2.0, it seems like the added functionality will include much of what HTC's custom version of Android 1.5 already includes.

As of right now, Sense still provides the "unique experience that includes deep integration with social networks" that HTC intended to be a differentiator, and in my opinion still has advantages over Android 2.0 (from what I have seen of the upgrade...), but these features could easily be adopted by Google within the next 2-3 months.

I am interested to see what my fellow Hero owners have to say on the subject. I think the HTC/Android dynamic needs to be different than the HTC/Windows Mobile dynamic.

Considering the rate at which Android is evolving, would it make sense for Sprint to push for an HTC device that just runs vanilla Android? Personally, I love HTC Hardware and would prefer to see Sprint/HTC partner on an 'HTC HD2-like' device that does not have the HTC Sense UI.

Before I get jumped - I know that you can disable the Sense UI on the Hero, but that does not help anything when it comes to upgrading to newer versions of Android.

I want to know:

  • Other peoples thoughts on HTC's 'Sense/Custom UI' approach as it relates to Android
  • Whether or not you think it is a good idea for Sprint/HTC considered dropping Sense on future phones on this network. Or should they offer both? 
26 REPLIES 26
Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

I for one completely agree...

Since the Sense UI is a separate component, make it available for download for HTC customers... they could easily "lock" it to HTC MAC addresses or similar.  Then we could get the update quickly, for those who don't need the Sense UI, and for those who DO want it, they can wait to download theupdate when the Sense UI is integrated.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

I agree as well. Initially it seems cool and yeah it looks nice, but after you use the phone for awhile, I found myself turning off all the fancy widgets, really only using about 3 screens of icons/widgets, and desiring faster performance more than anything.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

Drop? No. I love Sense. They could somehow make it an option though. Dropping it altogether would be absurb when it's their selling point.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

How about offering the latest version of Android when available and adding sense as an upgrade. That way we do not have to wait for them to finish the whole sense/android integration.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

CoronaDoug wrote:

How about offering the latest version of Android when available and adding sense as an upgrade. That way we do not have to wait for them to finish the whole sense/android integration.

Although that's a GREAT idea, remember that the carriers and device builders have to sometimes appeal to the lowest common denomeator and doing a Vanilla Android upgrade then adding their overlay would create havoc and a PR nightmare.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

CoronaDoug wrote:

How about offering the latest version of Android when available and adding sense as an upgrade. That way we do not have to wait for them to finish the whole sense/android integration.

I'll give a +1 to this.

Wizard

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

I like the Sense UI solely for the additions like the better keyboard, music app, smart dialer (which is really great, but not many people give it props), etc.  The extra home screens are neat, but not truly necessary for me.  Their widgets are quite a bit more polished than most of the Android ones.  I would take the Hero with 3 screens or with 7 screens, it is the actual form factor that I love.  It looks classier and better than most of the Android phones out there now, even the droid.  If Sense could be removed and all the extras, like keyboards, etc. still there, then I really wouldn't care eitherway.

I think that the upcoming 2.0 Sense UI will be very polished because they will be able to integrate all of the Android features that are now "basic" in 2.0 like CDMA support, better voice search, layars, multitouch, etc...things they had to code extra before so the overhead for Sense should be lower. I am hoping that we will all pleasantly be surprised by what Sense UI 2.0 is going to become when it finally arrives on our Heroes.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

I believe that the Sense UI is HTC's selling point.  If HTC didn't have the Sense UI what would they have as an edge to the other phones?  Nothing really.. Remember guys that there are people out there begging to get the Sense UI and have to root their phones to get it.  I think it is a great feature that we have and should be thankful.

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

First off, I think HTC's selling point is in superior hardware, whereas the software is an added bonus (just look at the moment, good phone but not as well put together as the HTC TP2...).

My point is that Sense could become irrelevant as soon as Android 3.0.

Android's purpose is very different from Windows Mobile. HTC's Sense UI will always provide value to WinMo phones, but I'm not sure that will be the case with Android... What 'edge' does Sense provide that is not a logical next step for Google to incorporate into the Android platform?  Do you guys really believe that in the near future people will buying Android 3.0 phones and going "I wish my phone had HTC's Sense UI"?

I don't, but HTC could still provide some software incentives like HTC-only widgets that come preloaded on their phones, etc..

Recently, HTC's CEO Peter Chou called Google's approach 'destructive' - and I would be willing to bet that the Android/Sense UI dynamic is palying a part in HTC's frustration with Google. Just look at the noise made by all Hero (US & UK) owners about updates. The smartphone market is still tiny, and Google will probably continue to be aggressive with Android updates for some time as more and more people enter the market.

Taking this into consideration, it seems like Sense (the idea of any custom UI on top of Anroid) is, at this point, more of a problem than it is worth...

Can HTC's timeline for innovation keep pace with Google's? So far it does not look good...

It may be in Sprint's best interest to consider both options - There are clearly huge fans of Sense (myself included), but for those who want to better keep pace with Google, a Sense-less Hero would look really good right now...

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

Really I must disagree the heros hardware lacks. Aside from the 5mp camera it might aswell be a 1980 cell phone. It's processor is lacking at only 600 mhz. You have to see that at this time the software is heros edge. I do agree that the sense UI will render obselete as soon as Google can add all the functionality the sense has to the android basic OS.  Sokd I say again be happy of what we have now everyone wants it.

Message was edited by: colemorris69

Journeyman

Re: Should HTC Drop Sense for Android?

Well, I am happy with the hardware and love the design...I also have no issues with my processor's performance (I don't run many widgets at all...), and I enjoy having Android 1.5 with the Sense UI built over it.

@cole You are exaclty right, many Android 1.5 & 1.6 users want what we have and we should be happy.

I want to see Sprint launch a phone that has some staying power, The Hero's hardware could carry the device well into 2010 with frequent access to updated/optimized software...It is within this context that Sense/Android do not provide a long-term benefit.

The majority of people could care less about hardware upgrades, just look at the iPhone, that thing has not changed much at all...

The software makes the difference, and while I love the bells and whistles that come with HTC Sense (Android 1.5 really needed the facelift...), part of me would rather have quick and regular access to the countless updates to Android that are sure to come out in 2010...without having to wait for HTC.

I am being specific about HTC in these discussions because no manufacturer will com close to producing as many Android devices in 2010...

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