An update is an update. No matter how big or small it is it’s still an update. But, as a consumer, I think we believe every update we get on our smartphones should be memorable, and packed full of awesome things. While this would be a great and amazing thing if it were true, some updates that are released for phones are designed only to fix some random bugs that testers and real-world users report exist, and may tweak how long our battery lasts. And then there are updates like what HTC’s Sense UI just received (or will receive, technically). The new Sense UI will be arriving on the just-announced HTC Sensation 4G, and while the update itself sounds great, I sat there and wondered: “Why’d that take so long?”
First, let me just say that HTC’s Sense user interface is by far my favorite proprietary software out there overlaying the stock Android experience. While there are elements of other manufacturer-created UIs, Sense is the only one that I’m actually excited to use right out of the box. And with the 2.0 update, and all of its tweaks and additions (not to mention the standard customization it provides), Sense got a huge refresher that was a long-time coming. The UI has certainly come a long way since its launch on the original HTC Hero way back in the day.
But this update seems more like one that should have come a long time ago, if not been available right from the start. But, I can actually understand why it hasn’t up until now. If we look at the competitors, we can see that lock screen information is kind of a new thing. What I mean is, Apple still isn’t using it, and for the most part notifications on the lock screen of an Android device are pretty limited, and don’t even exist on most devices. And I’m not talking about the little notification icons in the notifications bar. I mean real notifications, right there on the lock screen that are easy to see and decipher. HP’s webOS does a pretty good job of lock screen notifications, but even they have trouble with multiple notifications.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, to me, has the best lock screen out there. The notifications that pop-up on that screen while the device is locked are great and informative when you need to glance at your phone. Of course, Microsoft’s whole “glance” mentality is noticeable throughout the mobile OS, so that’s not surprising. But, I think I can honestly say that what HTC has brewing for the latest version of Sense is pretty interesting, and I can’t wait to try it out.
I do still believe that this particular update, as cool as it may be, should have been part of the mobile OS right from the start, if not included in just a couple of updates since its launch. This is definitely not an update I would have expected this far into the user interface’s existence. As a funny man said regarding this exact topic: “Genius,” with just the right amount of sarcasm necessary. It is true that it may not be the most profound update to the UI, but it is still an update and it will bring a new twist to the device.
But, here’s the big question: will the new features be enough to draw in new customers? Or is weather information, text message and email notifications on the lock screen just not interesting enough? If you’re using an HTC device with Sense on it, are you excited about using the new features? Or are you going to pick up the HTC Sensation because of these features (not to mention the rest of the specs)? Let me know in the comments what you think.