I've been keeping my eye on Android. I've not really used it short of a few demos in stores, but its openness and apparent power means I've been keeping up with its development.
This Hero device looks like the first one one I might actually get, mainly because they've made it look great and less child-like. Actually, the only reason I might hold off is in case I want to go for the Memphis - I like keyboards, but this seems to be a little vapourous at the moment?
My question? Yes, that's right, I had one. I wanted to know what it is that HTC Sense is. I mean, whatever it is, I think I love it (which is why I want the Hero over the G2), but I can't pin it down. The widgets-on-the-screen is not new, they were in since Cupcake. The swanky widgets to manage contacts, twitter, weather and all that other exciting stuff...could all be provided by downloadable applications. The contact list/social networking/messaging integration, is more what the OS is moving towards (especially with the announcement of Eclair and Flan). So what is Sense?
I could spit out what HTC wants you to think what Sense is, but you could find that information easily on their site.
From what I've seen, the Sense UI is just a software layer on top of Android that runs everything the end user sees (outside of 3rd party applications) from the dialer to the keyboard to the included browser. They have reworked everything to some degree from the original Android UI. This can be done with the same tools Google includes in the API (whether they did, or they used the newly public C++ "NPI", I don't know).
Basically, instead of 3 home screens on the normal Android UI, there are 7. And they've included a bunch of their own in house developed widgets for out of the box functionality. Everything is packaged up together and designed to be cohesive. I don't see any feature that a developer couldn't have added themselves, but the beauty is really in the cohesiveness of all these widgets and apps working together nicely from the start.
The OS is still Android but it will look completely different to the end user.
Sense = rehash(UI, native widgets, native apps)
I'm really excited to get the Hero. There is a lot of good stuff in the Sense UI that you would have to scrap together and/or wait for (multitouch, Flash support) that comes neatly packaged together and uniformly supported. HTC has done a great job showcasing what Android can offer that the other OS can't. (from a developers and manufacturers perspective atleast, and I think that is most important at this point to increase the attractiveness of the platform)
An overlay you say? Is that a purely visual thing (as in, that nifty phone button/menu button at the screen bottom that looks a lot better than the default), or are there added functions provided by this?
What I'm asking here is: how does it differentiate between a theme or skin? What would the Hero look like without Sense?
I wouldn't think of it as a theme or a skin. Both are vague and are typically form, not function. Its a repackaged user interface that includes some of HTCs own software and features.
The Android OS is still there running everything HTC has added, as well as working fine with all the apps and widgets already in the Marketplace.
But still everything that it does can be reproduced on any other Android phone (and most of it probably will), just don't expect it to come all at once or as well integrated.
Mostly it's a reworked home screen with a few other GUI improvements - the keyboard has got good comments from previewers which is nice as the Magic's Android standard keyboard isn't great IMHO.
I don't know if this is part of Sense, but the Hero also has multitouch, the first (and only announced) Android phone to have it. It only works in the browser and Google maps as apps need to specially support it. I hope 3rd party apps will be able to take advantage of this.
one of my favorite apps for my magic is aContacts and sms popup.. i like the contact list as i can just put thier pictures in and visually its nice.. havent rooted my phone i like the quickness of it the way it is and i dont see that with hero roms... about the only thing new i like in the sense ui is more screens... nice that they are constantly moving forward and not being stagnant.
For tech lovers dreaming of a magical phone, HTC's 3rd Android Phone - the HTC Hero - seems poised to rescue the masses from mobile phone boredom. The design is a more sleek, sexy version of the HTC Dream and HTC Magic and both hardware and sof... Read More