It seems that two times per year, HTC updates its Sense interface for Android. Today, with the announcement of the Desire Z and Desire HD, a wide swath of changes were shown for HTC’s proprietary Android interface. This is obviously important to those of you that plan to get the Z or HD, but it’s also important for anyone that runs a custom ROM, because it will only be a matter of time before ROMs for other devices are baked with HTC’s latest version of Sense. Here’s a look at what’s new!
1. Recent apps. This is super cool! Instead of tapping and holding the home button to quickly toggle between apps, you can do this via the notification area. Feels a bit Apple-esque.
2. Maps. HTC has added their own mapping system called Locations, which will pre-cache mapping data on your storage card. That means that you’ll no longer need an internet connection to access Maps, plus it’ll mean no more gray-squares that occur when the device is pulling map data from the cloud. See a demo at Engadget.
3. Landscape Sense. Finally, the Sense interface works in landscape orientation! HTC had to re-do its widgets to work in both orientations.
4. New email interface. Minor visual changes like a larger “compose mail” button give the email program a more refined look.
5. Extremely fast boot up. The Desire and Legend, which before today was HTC’s latest and greatest Android phones, can boot up in about 45 seconds. The new Desire Z and Desire HD can boot up in about 10. Wow!
6. Camera application. The camera app has been redone with quicker access to tools to allow you to manipulate your images.
7. Status updates in caller ID. When someone calls you, you’ll not only see their picture and number in the caller ID, but you’ll see their latest update from Twitter or Facebook.
8. Other stuff. There’s a lot of other minor changes. For example, you can flip through Scenes (preconfigured widget configurations) in a 3D view. Along those lines, the “add widgets” screen is now better organized. Also, the button on the right side has changed from a “+” into a canvas. Finally, the Car Panel design has been updated.
9. Online management. From HTCSense.com, you can remotely wipe your phone, keep SMS and contacts backed up, and more. Currently, the website is password protected, so we can’t see much.