With all the genuine and well deserved excitement surrounding the prelaunch of the HTC Hero/G1 Touch yesterday, one thing really stood out, and that was obviously the custom developed Sense UI interface. With that said, I think it is safe to say that current Android users sporting the standard Google Android OS found on the HTC G1 and HTC Magic (and presumably the upcoming Samsung i7500) may feel somewhat left out.
After all, both of the two available Android devices are HTC manufactured, and with the Taiwanese company doing such as great job customising Android for the Hero, why not release the UI as an optional upgrade to these devices? Well according to Pocket-Lint, HTC CEO Peter Chou confirmed that the “HTC sense will be available on some other existing devices”.
However, it would appear as though Sense UI is not just a quick dress-up of Android, and may be a product of a long development process for both Windows Mobile and Android, giving rise to the new TouchFLO 3D which is part of the Sense UI. Indeed, it is possible that upcoming devices from HTC running Windows Mobile may experience a similar make-over in terms of UI, although probably not identical. As such, it would seem as though Sense UI is very much a HTC endeavour and nothing much to do with Google specifically, or maybe even Android. To us, HTC seem to be forging a cross-platform independent branded identity. This analysis stems from the fact that HTC mentioned other devices, not other ‘Android’ devices.
In a market that is quickly becoming saturated in iPhone pretenders and touch-screen Smartphones, HTC are clearly looking for a way to distinguish themselves from the pack, not just in terms of build quality but also in terms of usability. Clearly it is early days for HTC’s Sense UI, but it really does look like it could give iPhone’s user-interface a decent battle.