HTC 10 Sense Feature Focus-10

Looking for some sense in your life? HTC can’t help with that, but it may be able to give some Sense to your phone.

As reported by Ausdroid, HTC is looking for willing testers for a beta version of Sense Home, its app launcher/homescreen replacement. But here’s the kicker: HTC is specifically looking for testers who own non-HTC devices.

Ausdroid uncovered the info from an email sent to member of the HTC Preview beta program. The only requirement to join the best test is to own a non-HTC phone that runs Android 4.4 or higher. HTC will accept sign-ups from today through June 28, but it’s not clear when the beta will kick off.

HTC-Sense-Home-8

Sense Home is HTC’s home screen replacement. Formerly known as BlinkFeed, the app landed in the Play Store in 2014; in April 2015, it gained new features – themes and the Sense Home widget – and its current name, Sense Home.

Sense Home 8 is currently only available to HTC devices, but judging from the beta call, it could open up to all Android users. Highlights of the latest version include the Freestyle layout (a quirky app launcher that lets you use unique icon/wallpapers combinations), improved theming support, and the BlinkFeed feed aggregator that is accessible with a swipe from the left.

It’s interesting that HTC is not just unbundling its apps, but also opening them up to the wider Android ecosystem. The Zoe photo editing app was a road-opener in this regard, but making the launcher available to everyone takes the idea to the next level. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Samsung is doing something similar with Good Lock (a TouchWiz alternative). We could even tie this unbundling of launchers with a possible split between a common backend (owned and updated by Google) and a frontend that contains the OEM’s visual and functional customizations.

Even if opening up Sense Home is just idle play, it’s still good news for former HTC owners who miss BlinkFeed or for users who happen to prefer HTC’s UI design.

Would you try Sense on your non-HTC phone?

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