HTC was the first manufacturer to put a skin on Android, and arguably they did a pretty good job at it. While everyone else has been scrambling to catch-up to their first version of the Sense UI, they continued improving it and making it more visually appealing with the 3.0 version, and this fall they are going to launch new handsets with their seemingly overhauled Sense 3.5 UI.

Gingerbread or Icecream Sandwich?

Since ICS is supposedly coming in October, I doubt this new Sense 3.5 UI is going to be for ICS phones, so it’s most likely coming to their new Android 2.3 phones. Another hint about this is that their version number is 3.5, not 4.0, even though the skin is overhauled. I think they want to keep the versions of Sense in line with the versions of Android. It’s true that there isn’t an Android 3.x phone out there now, but that’s because Google split them up this year. Once they unite them again, it’s only going to be one Android 4.0 OS, and then it’s probably when HTC will rename their skin to 4.0 as well.

What’s new in the Sense 3.5 UI

As you can see the most obvious change is that the main symbol of their Sense UI, the weather widget, has been changed to cover about half of the screen, in the center, with the clock at the top, and 4 other icons at the bottom. What looks a bit strange is that the 4 icons at the bottom are not in a straight line. Does that mean they are not removable, or does it mean all your new icons in that place will look like that? How does it affect the rest of the screen if you take out the weather widget? Would they be in a straight line? We won’t have answers to these questions until we see our first Sense 3.5 phones.

Another major change seems to be with the lockscreen. It seems that you can unlock apps directly from your homescreen if you drag them to the right. Also all the new icons in Sense 3.5 seem to have a black background, which I think is a welcome move. It makes the icons more separated between each other, and you can identify each of them more easily. They seem to have changed how Settings look like, and it now has a white background for them, with additional functionality.

Overall, I think the new Sense 3.5 looks even more polished than 3.0, and even though it seems to look better, HTC said they will put the skin on more phones, even without a dual core, which they said was a requirement for the 3.0 version. So all of you out there with a 1Ghz phone, at least from the past year or so, will probably get this new Sense 3.5 skin.

Check out the other screenshots at AndroidLife.