DroidGamers does a complete walk-through of the newest HTC Sense user interface thats going to be running on the recently announced (and not yet released) Desire HD and Desire Z. Improved music application with DLNA support, a notification bound task-switcher, offline HTC locations map service, and online integration of messaging, contacts and forwarding calls right from the website are among some of the newest features.
These devices will be available later in the year to Europe later this year with North America not too far behind. Leaked recently to the internet and ported to the HD2 by XDA the Desire HD ROM brings many new features that drastically improve user experience across the board that make using Android just that much better.
Sense HD Walkthrough
Sense HD (as I’ll coin it) has seen tremendous improvement over its predecessor on the EVO and Incredible. This newest version of Sense adds online integration deep enough to send/receive text messages, forward calls and locate/destroy your phone right from HTC’s website should you need to do so. An application switcher similar to the one implemented in on the home button in iOS has been added. Dragging the notification drawer down now reveals a task switcher and out of application control (pausing) for music right from the notification drawer(!).The Music application has been updated to include cover-flow support, DLNA support for streaming music/video/pictures to your phone from your computer, or connect to DLNA supported TVs and devices and share videos recorded on the device’s 8MP camera.
It’s worth mentioning that this is still very much a beta build and just isn’t stable or fast enough for daily use (knowing XDA it’ll probably be stable next month) and is for demonstration purposes only.
HTC’s Sense is Now a Store Front
Micro-transactions and advertisements are going to cover the screens of our smartphones for the foreseeable future. HTC sells you everything on its newest generation of devices. Skins, navigation & voice data and sound sets (explained in a minute) are all set to go on sale when Sense officially launches on the Desire HD and Z in Europe and Canada later in the year. While it’s nice that HTC will offer the ability to customize this heavily with Sense it would be nice to have independent themes too.
In HTC’s music application paid features like Amazon MP3 have been tacked onto the existing player in an effort to sell the customer more music through a partnership. HTC Likes has also been bundled with the newest Sense giving you a place to share your comments with your HTC friends and whether you ‘like’ and app or not and it also allows HTC to feature applications that it likes. It feels like HTC doesn’t want to be done with you as a customer after you buy their phones and it’s an uncomfortable change.
Personalize and Skins
Personalize has been highlighted with it now being directly accessible on the home screen it replaces the older (and unnecessary) “Add to Home” button on older builds.
Skins are a new concept to the android operating system from HTC which change not only the wallpaper and widgets but also the overall look and feel of the menu bar, notification drawer, sliders in applications and much more.
This build comes with 5 skins with HTC eventually selling more through its hub application. HTC hasn’t announced whether developers will be free to develop them or if they’ll be made entirely by HTC.
HTC Music and DLNA
HTC’s Music application was improved, adding cover-flow on rotation, “Featured” (we’ll get back to that), Dolby Digital/SRS/EQ (with headphones) support and an overall more graphical UI that actually seems faster than the older Sense player. “Featured” (as can be seen in the gallery) has been added by AmazonMP3 which allows you to buy music directly from the player.
Settings & New Features
Even the settings introduce new features and the visual style have seen some pretty dramatic improvements as well. The text and icons have been made smaller in all settings resulting in more menus fitting on-screen and scrolling less. Widgets have also seen some improvement with “Data Dashboard” and “Power Dashboard” being added that make it easier to control settings on your phone along with many useful or nice looking widgets such as the new stocks widget crawler and HTC Likes widget.
New notable features:
Locations is currently broken on this leaked build. Locations is maps and navigation that gives the user the option to purchase map and navigation data for use when no network is available or when they want to conserve battery power. Optional is Google Maps & Navigation support for contextual data is found in the settings which seems to be online only. When more is available on Locations we’ll do an entire article on it.
New widgets are also available however most of the interesting widgets are for adjusting settings right from the home screen. Images of the widgets in action can be seen in the gallery above.
New to settings:
“Personalize” has been added to the home screen in place of “Add to Home”, personalize has been expanded to include support for changing skins, changing ringtones, scenes, and sound settings along with adding objects to home screen.
Wireless & Networks:
Internet Pass-Through – Allows USB networking for wired internet from your computer.
Wi-Fi settings – Advanced has been added with the option to switch Wi-Fi sleep policy (turn off wifi: after 15 min/never when plugged in/never), “Best Wi-Fi performance”, and DLNA auto-IP – when checked use DLNA automatically when no DHCP (internet) server is available.
Using GPS satellites are turned off by default, Phone Finder – allows you to find your phone on HTCSense.com, integrate Google navigation with HTC Locations, reinstall – reinstall the locations apps.
When enabled this feature will automatically disable features like WiFi/Bluetooth/background data/on screen animations/vibrate feedback and to turn down other features like screen brightness and backlight timeout.