Google and Motorola are two Android companies that've released their unique apps to the Play Store, allowing them to roll out updates to users whenever they'd like rather than having to wait for a major OS update to do so. Now it looks like HTC is planning to do the same thing.
Just hours ahead of its announcement of the new HTC One (M8), HTC has unleashed a trio of its Sense 6 apps into Google Play. The first, and possibly most noteworthy, is the HTC BlinkFeed launcher. This app is the Flipboard-esque news reader that HTC launched with the original One last year, but updated for Sense 6 and the new One. That means that it's got the same green color scheme that we've seen in past new HTC One leaks. The app also includes an Offline Reading feature that saves feeds over Wi-Fi for later viewing.
Also rolled out by HTC is the SenseTV app. As the name suggests, SenseTV allows users to control their TV, set top box or home theater system with their phone and also view programming guides. The app also supports second screen content, including cast and crew information as well as sports scores and stats. Finally, the HTC Service Pack app is a "support service update" that includes past updates and is meant to help make Sense more reliable.
Google and Motorola have received quite a bit of praise for their decision to upload apps like Google Keyboard, Motorola Touchless Control and Motorola Camera to the Play Store. In the past, manufacturers would typically wait to roll out app updates until they could be included as part of a larger OS update, but the Play Store strategy enables the apps to be updated whenever the device makers want, bringing new features and fixes to users more frequently. It's great to see another company adopting this strategy, and hopefully HTC will take advantage of it and push out frequent updates for its own apps.
UPDATE: HTC has uploaded yet another Sense app to Google Play. This time it's the HTC Gallery app, which includes a feature called "Image Match" that allows a user to choose a photo with a certain object or person and then search for similar images in the Gallery.
Interestingly, HTC notes in the description for its Gallery app that "Support for HTC One(M8) Google Play Edition is limited to HTC Photo Edit." Looks like those rumors of a Google Play edition of the new HTC One (M8) were true.