The first Android phone that I got was the Nexus One, built by HTC for Google. However, I also got to play with an HTC DROID Eris for Verizon for a while, and I really fell in love with HTC’s Sense user interface. Over the years, they’ve been improving it quite a bit, and the latest HTC Sense UI on the new HTC One X is simply phenomenal. It’s much more lightweight than its predecessors, and adds a ton of missing functionality to my favorite mobile operating system.
HTC (and other manufacturers) take a lot of flak for ‘skinning’ Android, though, particularly from Android Fanbois, who insist that purity is the way to go. I actually spent quite a bit of time testing out HTC Sense custom ROMs for my Nexus One before finally dumping it for the HTC T-Mobile G2 (which was easily converted to the Sense-packing Desire Z). There are some specific reasons that I love HTC Sense UI so much:
1. Camera experience – the camera app that HTC has designed is simply phenomenal and adds real functionality to the stock camera app, including cool filters, an improved scrollable ‘share’ pop-up, and a bunch of other options.
2. Exchange email – I realize that Android is built for Gmail, but I have a job, and that job uses Exchange. The stock Exchange support is pathetic – can’t subscribe to folders, can’t setup polling profiles (so I don’t get pestered at night), and more. The Sense interface gives me improvements in the inbox, too. When I do use stock Android devices, I have to use a 3rd party app called Enhanced Email or else I go nuts.
The list goes on. In any case, HTC’s official blog has kicked off a series called ‘Making Sense of HTC Sense‘, and it aims to answer some popular consumer questions, such as “Why don’t you just sell phones with the stock operating system?” It should be an absolutely fascinating read, I’m actually looking forward to it.
Do you have a favorite Android manufacturer skin, or do you prefer the purity of straight-up Android?
*It should be noted that I despise the HTC Sense launcher. It’s incredibly lame and lacking of features as compared to the 3rd party options. If you’re on Gingerbread or below, I recommend LauncherPro Plus. If you’re on Ice Cream Sandwich or above, I recommend Apex Launcher Pro.