By Chuong Nguyen | July 25, 2010 2:07 AM
With Microsoft trying to create a standardized, unique user experience, a phrase that it’s been professing, for Windows Phone 7, it was uncertain how various OEMs–like HTC–will be able to skin Windows phone 7 with HTC Sense or other proprietary user interfaces, but it looks like HTC is moving forward with Sense UI, both on Windows Phone 7 and on Android 3.0 Gingerbread, in one capacity or another.
Drew Bramford of HTC told Forbes that he expects HTC Sense to continue on in the two forthcoming OS releases but did not disclose how or in what form. Our mobile MVP Adam Lein had suggested earlier that HTC Sense could appear as part of a set of Windows Phone 7 tiles, which would definitely augment the user experience and help the Taiwanese phone maker to differentiate its own handsets from others to avoid risk of commoditization. Bramford did note that Microsoft is seeking to create a tighter software and hardware experience and wants to regain control of the OS, much like the closed ecosystem that iOS is for the iPhone.
According to Bramford, “”We won’t be able to replace as much of the core Windows Phone experience, but we will augment it.”
Similarly, HTC and other OEMs may be facing a parallel war with skinning OSes on the Android front, which so far has been criticized for fragmentation and lack of consistency as we have a stock Android experience, an HTC Sense experience, MOTO BLUR experience, and TouchWiz experience to name a few. However, with Android 3.0 Gingerbread, Google is rumored to be following Microsoft’s path and creating an experience that may negate OS skinning, which means that HTC Sense may not be welcomed and/or may become superfluous.
The difference between Google and Microsoft is that the speculations involving Android 3.0 did not specifically exclude or prohibit customizations whereas Microsoft’s stance seems to be more of an Apple approach.
HTC seems to want to push forward with Sense UI as a hybrid between using a proprietary operating system–whether it be open-source like Android or a closed one like Windows Phone 7–and creating its own–like what Palm had done with webOS or Apple with iOS. The company has recently conducted a study of smartphone owners. According to Forbes, Some new ideas may also emerge from research HTC recently completed. In early July, the company gathered a diverse group of smartphone users and asked them to use a different phone operating system for two weeks. Afterwards, HTC interviewed the group about their impressions and asked what they still wanted–but couldn’t find–in a smartphone. We’ll have to see how HTC Sense will be similar and different on Android and on Windows Phone 7 and what the user experiences will be like. It’d be interesting if HTC could achieve this “hybrid OS” strategy by leveraging other operating systems and adding its user experience design into the equation and not have to create its own custom operating system.
Do you see a need for HTC Sense on Windows Phone 7 from the limited Windows Phone 7 preview videos? Are you happy with stock Android?