The launch of the HTC Hero and seeing how well the company’s new UI works has left many existing Android device owners looking at their smartphones with no small amount of disappointment. So news that HTC CEO Peter Chou has confirmed that “HTC Sense will be available on some other existing devices” has understandably stoked speculation that either the Magic or the original G1 might get an official injection of the slick new interface.
It may not be so clear-cut, however. What HTC failed to make entirely clear during their press conference yesterday – and then took pains to point out in the aftermath - HTC Sense refers not just to the new UI on the Hero but to all of the company’s latest UI work, including TouchFLO 3D on Windows Mobile devices. Talking to an HTC executive at a dinner event in London last night, it was made clear that Sense is the culmination of three years of development - since the original HTC Touch device, in fact - with TouchFLO 3D being just one step along the road to what you see here on the Hero.
There’s also the question of what ties HTC had to break with Google in order to make their modifications in the Hero. We already know that there are different levels of Android involvement that lead to different types of branding – i.e. whether you can have a Google sticker on the back of your phone – and that branding is conspicuously missing from the Hero. We don’t yet know enough to say whether HTC’s new UI sits entirely well with Google’s “Android Experience”.
What that could mean is that the existing devices Chou talks about might not, in fact, be Android-based, but could be newer models from the company’s Windows Mobile range. The recently-launched Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 might be two potential candidates. It certainly seems more likely that HTC would do a straight port of the latest Sense UI to models in its Android line-up, but until it announces definite plans we can’t be certain.