Sense 4 briefly shown off, ICS tweaks incoming

Posted by: Brett

Earlier this month, a system leak from one of the newly announced One phones by HTC gave us our first look at Sense 4, a mask of HTC’s Sense skin and Android 4.0. The main changes in this software revision are thanks to the aesthetic refinements and feature enhancements coming from Android 4.0, most of which HTC tailored for their devices. Read on for a quick look at some of the things HTC improved this roundabout.

The home screen hasn’t changed much, aside from some widget theme changes, most notably the trademark HTC Sense flip clip receiving a new clock font. The dock has been made more Android 4.0-esque with two icons residing on either side of an app drawer shortcut. This new shortcut dock replaces the old crescent shaped dock that housed a permanent phone shortcut in between a personalize button and an app drawer button. The dock icons can be customized, too. Turn the device sideways on your home screen and voilà, the home screen changes orientation, as does everything on the screen (the lock screen is capable of this, too).

Aside from the home screen tweaks, the entire operating system has received the Roboto font treatment pioneered and made an Android standard by Google in ICS. Sense 4 has included it’s own new transitions, for example, when entering the Settings app, each menu comes onto the screen as a separate “tile” in a quick motion. The camera has also received some improvements, announced today. While shooting video, you can also take a still image (yes, without stopping the video capture), among others. Beats audio is now deeply integrated into the software and third party applications can use Beats audio technology in their applications, rather than just the Music application.

Speaking of the Settings application, it now features quick settings, once found in the notification pulldown, something ICS introduced. The notification pulldown now allows for single notification purging, as well as clearing them all at once. Something not found in the build shown off at MWC, or in any leaks, is the stationary Google search bar stapled to the home screen pages. Also, Sense 4.0 users will get 25GB free of Dropbox storage for two years, which should cover the time you are locked into a contract for.

It’s expected that the One series will be the first devices to have the software combo of Android 4.0 and Sense 4.0 as they’ll be pre-loaded with it. HTC has recently begun testing of the software on the Sensation and Sensation XE with a limited amount of users in Europe. Release for most of HTC’s high-end devices is slated for the first half of this year, but no solid timeframe has been announced.

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