HTC introduces Sense, the first customized Android installation on its new Hero – UPDATE

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The era of Android customization has begun with HTC’s Sense UI, a customized overlay for Android that adds HTC’s stunning graphical interface to the sturdy Android OS. The UI will run on the new Hero, a 3.2-inch touchscreen phone running at 528MHz with MicroSD slot.

More specs on the phone:

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 AGPS, digital compass, gravity-sensor, 3.5mm stereo headset jack, a five 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.

The new Android UI will have something called “Perspectives,” a new method for connecting email, contacts, and social media automatically. This version will also be the first to support Flash natively.

So here’s my assessment:

Sorry, Palm: this is the new hotness. The HTC Hero with Sense does everything WebOS can do but it uses Android, a platform that is already popular with the geekerati and has a great install base. There wasn’t much to see in these versions – a short hands-on appears below – but you’re looking at what promises to make Android the real killed feature-phone OS: customizability with an eye on processor intensive “data linking.”

The parts we saw of the OS promise contact linking, which will allow you to add social media aspects to contacts. Instead of a name and address you can add Flickr streams, Twitter info, and other goodies. The changeable UI based on activities – the weekend vs. weekday screens – promises fewer distractions during key points in your life (i.e. when going out with the kids you can hide your email). Most importantly, however, this is Android. It has a full app store.

Oh, and it has Flash.

As I’ve said, Android is the next WinMo. It’s the more powerful smartphone OS for business and casual users and because it is open it can be customized to your liking in seconds. OEMs will lap it up because it’s free. More in a bit.


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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 observing and listening to how people live and communicate.
‘HTC Hero introduces a more natural way for reaching out to 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
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 AGPS, digital compass, gravity-sensor, 3.5mm stereo headset jack, a five 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.

HTC Sense
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.

Stay Close
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 alongside 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.

Availability
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.

About HTC
HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile phone industry and continues to pioneer industry-leading mobile experiences through design, usability and innovation that is sparked by how the mobile phone can improve how people live and communicate. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit http://www.htc.com.

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