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HTC’s plan for 2012 was pretty simple. Create a brand. A recognizable brand, one that would make potential customers and long-time fans recognize the company, much like the Galaxy brand represents Samsung, and the iPhone immortalizes Apple. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I believe HTC succeeded in that effort. Yes, the One Series is indeed all theirs, but I don’t think it had the same penetration that they were hoping it would. What’s worse, HTC’s plan to release fewer phones didn’t seem to last all that long, and now even the One Series is packed full of devices.

I just did a quick search for “HTC One” and I want to list the devices that popped up. No, you can’t get a lot of these devices here in the United States, not from any specific carrier, but that’s a bit beyond the point these days. Just, see the list:

HTC One X. HTC One X+. HTC One S. HTC One V. HTC One SV. HTC One XL. HTC One SU. HTC One VX. HTC One SV (CDMA). HTC One ST. HTC One SC. HTC One S C2. HTC One XC. Those are the Android options. (Here are the Windows Phone options, if you want to count them: HTC Windows Phone 8X. HTC Windows Phone 8S.)

Samsung has a lot of phones, but that’s just . . . Well, that’s a lot of phones. All of which are meant to utilize that One Series brand, one way or another. HTC’s hopes of getting the One Series recognized by outstanding devices is watered down by the fact that there are so many devices, ranging in sizes, feature sets, and availability. HTC actually even kept people from purchasing their latest device here in the States, the One X+, by releasing it too soon after the original One X’s release date on AT&T’s network.

The One Series is a good brand name. It gives an owner the chance to say, “I’ve got the One phone,” which has a nice ring to it. And, hey, if branding would have worked out and the One Series was a complete success, more people would have heard, “I’ve got that One phone,” and known what they were talking about.

Alas, that isn’t the case. And while I do agree with our own Taylor Martin that HTC needs to put more focus on providing larger batteries, and more storage right out of the box (that doesn’t include cloud storage), I think the biggest misstep that HTC needs to correct is their proprietary Sense user interface. Yes, it’s long in the tooth, but it’s more than that now, I think. I think Sense UI is slowing the whole show down, since it’s tied to previous, non-record-smashing devices.

It’s time HTC remove Sense UI, and start something new.

With 2013 right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for HTC to do this. I don’t think they’d necessarily need to shed the One Series, though. Sure, it runs Sense UI in 2012, but I think HTC could pull ahead of that stigma if they could create a software experience that really, really shines. I know people who don’t like Samsung’s TouchWiz, but will still pick a Galaxy Android-based device because it isn’t Sense. That’s huge, in my opinion.

There is no denying that HTC, using Sense, made Android a household name all those years ago, but we’re beyond that now. Android is a household name, and now it’s time for HTC to start new, start fresh, and make something that once again wows the entire world. Because, as it stands, HTC’s Sense UI 4+ is just “better” than previous versions before it. Some might think that’s good enough, but it obviously isn’t.

HTC’s focus can’t just be on hardware, or adding more memory, or even creating a new Nexus device. (I really would like HTC to make a new Nexus device, but I think it might get outshined by the stock software, and that can only help so much.) If HTC wants to prove themselves against the likes of Samsung, they need to make a perfect combination of hardware and software, which means they have to start thinking “new” when it comes to Sense. Not just tweaking it. Start new. Wow the world, HTC.

So, tell me, Dear Reader, how would you change HTC’s Sense UI? Are there any elements that you would keep? Or would you just toss the whole thing, and start from scratch to create something new and exciting? Which, if any, features from another piece of software would you incorporate into your new Sense experience? Let me know!


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