In addition to some interesting hardware features, the newly announced HTC One also comes with a revamped user interface, HTC’s Sense 5.0 that brings a new Flipboard-like RSS feeder – dubbed BlinkFeed – on top of Android OS, while simplifying the whole UI.
HTC Sense 5 is mostly about BlinkFeed, or so it appears, although the smartphone maker won’t force you to use it as your Home screen. There’s always the option of reverting to a different Home screen, one that resembles more to HTC’s regular Sense experience.
HTC says that BlinkFeed, a live Home screen, was created to overcome the user’s boredom – you know, those times that you unlock and relock your phone without doing anything with it. With BlinkFeed, you may immerse yourself in some quick content while trying to kill time. Obviously, you’ll also help kill your data allowance faster, although it’s not quite clear how much data BlinkFeed will require.
BlinkFeed is an RSS subscription service that throws in your face news gathered from over 1,500 sources next to updates for your social networks. While you have the freedom to disable it but also to choose what kind of content to view if deciding to use it, BlinkFeed does have some drawbacks. First of, it needs an Internet connection to work, which means that if you have a limited data plan or roaming, you either won’t appreciate the added traffic, or won’t be able to enjoy BlinkFeed while traveling.
Secondly, it’s apparently HTC that curates the content that makes it to the BlinkFeed, social networks excluded, which means you won’t be able to add the news sources you want. At least for now.
On the whole the BlinkFeed idea is interesting and certainly visually pleasing, although it’s clear that it does take cues from Windows Phone’s Metro interface, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
In case you miss the good old HTC clock, you’ll still find it in the widgets section and use that if the BlinkFeed is too boring for you.
Overall, while we’re looking at a more simple UI, one that packs elements from Google’s stock Android, this still isn’t stock Android but another Sense version that will probably see on more HTC devices in the future. And who can blame HTC, or any other Android OEM for that matter, for trying to stand out of the crowd with its own custom UI?
We’ll be back with more hands-on Sense 5 details in the future. Meanwhile let us know what you like and/or hate about HTC’s 5th Sense so far?