Today was the HTC “Come See” event and we were in attendance down in Hackney. Upon entering the location we were
ushered into a large room for the main launch and placed near to the front. Shortly following this Peter Chou –
CEO at HTC took to the stage. We’ve been lucky enough to meet with Peter on a number of occasions and he’s got a
great understanding of what customers want from a phone.
“The Smartphone is the new phone”, said Peter, “People appreciate the Smartphone experience. For us, we have
four core Values to everything we do – it’s all about people, surprise, simplicity and power.”
HTC have spent the last five years recruiting a specialist software team in the US an Taiwan. They claim to have
the most amount of software developers working on Windows Mobile and Android outside of Google and MS.
Announcing the new HTC Sense interface Peter stated that it is designed to keep people close, to combine social
networks and to discover the unexpected. It’s also what coolsmartphone.com was originally built for – making the
phone your own through plugins and custom applets. “Make it mine”, said Peter.
Later, after asking a number of HTC people they all stated that this wasn’t “simply an Android version of
TouchFLO 3D”. It’s hard not to find parallels between the two interfaces. The very latest TouchFLO 3D version
now lets you click contacts and find out what each contact is doing by grouping all the communication channels
into one panel.
The HTC Sense is to be introduced in a “line of upcoming handsets”, the first being the HTC Hero, a Google based
device which will be available in July 2009 on T-Mobile and Orange. It’s therefore clear that HTC Sense is a
Google Android thing, and TouchFLO 3D is a WinMo thing. The HTC Hero uses the HTC Sense interface to adjust to
your life patterns, it’s personalisation in overdrive. Phones can now do so much that it can be a problem
juggling it all. “We carry a phone to stay close but we have to go in and out of various different systems to
see FlickR / SMS / Email etc.”, said HTC. Predictive dialing is another feature of the HTC Sense. It’ll also
automatically switch to the appropriate time zone and update which town you’re in with the GPS. Multi touch is
included, a 5 megapixel camera is in the back (no flash, but auto-focus is there), there’s a compass, 3.5mm
audio jack and on-screen text is auomatically formatted to fit. In the demo everything looked really smooth
apart from the screen orientation switching. Bookmarks in the browser are silky smooth and the GUI is as fluid
as a wet marble on a tray.
Outside the HTC Hero there’s a Teflon coating to stop dirt and stains. The angled handset also stops the need to
polish the screen with an anti-fingerprint finish. This is also the first handset to feature the latest Adobe
Flash player out of the box. Plus, to make data entry easier, there’s an advanced on-screen keyboard with error
correction. In my demo this worked well, with mistakes being corrected intelligently and quickly.
HTC showed video from people in London using the phone – all were impressed. The angled design of the phone and
the trackball interface seemed to prove popular. We’ll have to see ourselves, but it has got us thinking. This
isn’t Windows Mobile, but it is a Smartphone. This is something we need to follow.
Read on for the full press release.
HTC SENSE™ DEBUTS ON NEW HTC HERO™
HTC Hero is the world’s first Android-based phone with a
customized user interface
HTC Sense to be integrated across a portfolio of
phones beginning with HTC Hero
LONDON – June 24, 2009 – HTC Corporation, a global designer of mobile phones, today debuted HTC Sense™, an intuitive and seamless experience that will be introduced across a portfolio of phones beginning with the new HTC Hero™. With its distinct design and powerful capabilities fully integrated with HTC Sense, Hero introduces a unique blend of form and function that takes Android to new heights.
HTC Sense is focused on putting people at the centre by making your phone work in a more simple and natural way. This experience revolves around three fundamental principles that were designed by quietly listening and observing how people live and communicate.
“HTC Hero introduces a more natural way for reaching out to the people and accessing your important information, not by following the status quo of today’s phones, but by following how you communicate and live your life,” said Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer, HTC Corporation. ”HTC Sense is a distinct experience created to make HTC phones more simple for people to use, leaving them saying, ‘it just makes sense.’”
HTC Hero continues HTC’s leadership in cutting-edge design that focuses on introducing a variety of distinct devices to represent your own individuality. Boasting bevelled edges and an angled bottom, the HTC Hero is contoured to fit comfortably in your hand and against your face while you’re on a call. The HTC Hero is built to last beginning with an anti-fingerprint screen coating for improved smudge resistance and a longer lasting, clearer display. The white HTC Hero includes an industry-first, Teflon coating, resulting in an improved, durable white surface that is soft to the touch.
With its 3.2-inch HVGA display, the HTC Hero is optimized for Web, multimedia and other content while maintaining a small size and weight that fits comfortably in your hand. It also boasts a broad variety of hardware features including a GPS, digital compass, gravity-sensor, 3.5mm stereo headset jack, a 5 mega-pixel autofocus camera and expandable MicroSD memory. HTC Hero also includes a dedicated Search button that goes beyond basic search, providing you with a more natural, contextual search experience that enables you to search through Twitter, locate people in your contact list, find emails in your inbox or search in any other area in Hero.
Built on a culture of innovation and a passion to enhance people’s lives, HTC shapes the mobile experience around the individual. Debuting on the HTC Hero and available on all new HTC devices moving forward, Sense delivers on three basic principles: Make it Mine, Stay Close and Discover the Unexpected.
Make It Mine
Make It Mine, is about feeling your HTC phone was created for and by you. To do this, HTC encourages you to dictate and organize how you want to access the people and content in your life in a way that fits best for you. For some, this means adding glance view widgets that push content like twitter feeds, weather and other content to the surface while others may want quick access to business-focused information like email, calendar and world-times. HTC is also introducing a new profile feature called ‘scenes’ that enables you to create different customized content profiles around specific functions or times in your life.
Today, staying in touch with the people in your life means managing a variety of communication channels and applications ranging from phone calls, emails, texts, photos, status updates and more. HTC Sense takes a different approach by integrating these communication channels and applications into one single view enabling you to stay closer to your important people. With HTC Sense, friends’ Facebook status updates and photos along with their Flickr photos are included along side their text messages, emails and call history in a single view.
Discover the Unexpected
Many of the most memorable moments in your life are experienced, not explained. HTC Sense is focused on providing a variety of these simple yet innovative experiences on your HTC phone that will sometimes bring you moments of joy and delight. It can be something as basic as turning the phone over to silence a ring or as simple as improving the smart dialler for making calls quicker. HTC Sense also includes perspectives, a new way for viewing your content such as email, photos, Twitter, music and more in different ways.
The HTC Hero will be available to people across Europe in July and in Asia later in the summer. A distinct North American version will be available later in 2009.