We've been hearing about the HTC Ville, which should be set for an announcement at Mobile World Congress next month, since November of last year. The guys at HTC Hub recently spent some hands-on time with this upcoming mid-ranger and shot some video showing what it's all about. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The original video (found at HTC Hub) has been made private, so we found an alternative.

Considering the low video quality, it's hard to say exactly what has been changed in Sense 4 compared to previous versions, aside from the pretty animations. There is one thing certain though - it still looks the same. In fact, at first glance, we thought the Ville was running Gingerbread - until they showed the version information, that is. It's hard to believe that ICS can go from the elegance and beauty offered by the stock experience to... this. We'll admit, Sense used to do a lot of good for Android. It looked great and brought useful functions to handsets. The problem is, while Android has evolved into a more mature OS, Sense has stayed the same version after version. That tired black bar with the same old green battery icon? Please. That looks awful compared to stock ICS. Hell, it didn't really didn't even look as good as stock Gingerbread. Every little bit of Android seems to be skinned with Sense 4 (much like previous versions), taking away most of the things people love so much about stock ICS.

If you're still interested in what this device has to offer, here is the (rumored) full spec list:

  • 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4.3-inch qHD display
  • 8MP rear camera, VGA up front
  • Android 4.0.1 with Sense 4

The Ville is rumored to be slated for an April release, but we'll have to wait for the official word from HTC at MWC next month.


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Lorenzo in a Benzo

    Ummm of course it will!! Any overlayed UI will ruin ICS. They need to just leave it the hell alone!

  • Bas

    Yes it will: as all Sense versions did with Android. I think all ICS phones should have the default Android theme.

  • Phil

    Um - is this supposed to be some amazingly envelope-pushing device? I haven't seen any swipe lag since my nexus 1 but this thing appears to have it in spades. No thanks HTC!

    • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

      I am not defending them, as I expect it to be smooth when released, however, this is pre-production and test software. I wouldn't go after the bit of lag yet. They have time to fix that up.

      Oh yeah and it is ugly.

    • duder

      um - it's still in development. So of course it's slow as crap. Also considering it's just being "announced" at MWC "next month" I'd say it's not exactly market-ready

  • Jon W

    galaxy nexus ftw (being a stock ICS look and feel phone) lol

  • http://www.thepixelpuse.com aj

    Oh god, I hate HTC's icons. They remind me of windows 98.

  • http://estenlund.se Zaragon

    This actually looks a lot better than i thought it would! I'm gonna keep it if it looks like this in my Senation when it gets there!

    Phil: No early alpha leaks, like this, is ever without lag. It'll be gone until it gets official!

  • TJ

    I tell you what this new sense looks awefully bad compared to stock ICS!! Htc needs to leave it alone and bring out a phone with stock ICS. The previous versions of sense looked better than this crap! Sense is beginning to look outdated and boring now kind of like how iOS looks on the icrap!

    • Mike Smith

      Just goes to show that name calling ruins your credibility. Being a dedicated Android user coming from iOS, people have choices and the name calling just shows your immaturity. Nuff said.

  • [TSON]

    Those new menu transition animations completely negate everything that went wrong with this version of sense.


    • [TSON]

      That being said, this is the ugliest front side of a phone I have ever seen. What window-licker decided that the back's design should bubble up over the screen bezel like that? Ew!

  • jjrudey

    Skins have been ruining Android for a while now.

  • Deltaechoe

    I've always hated sense (and most other OEM "skins") with a passion. I guess you can call me an android purist, but I just love the look of stock android and the oem skins just ruin that androidy feel for me.

  • Anand

    It's amusing how a few days ago when a RIM CEO suggested "all Android devices were the same", all of the manufacturer specific skins were a sign of the vibrant Android ecosystem.

    Then a few days later, we're complaining because all Android devices are not the same.

    In any case, I buy devices more on their hardware than on their stock software. HTC devices are usually pretty good about getting CyanogenMod ROMs in one way or another.

  • toryg

    u ppl will never understand.. it has almost always been like this. if you want standard android, you get a nexus. gosh ppl make me laugh 'everything should be stock ics'. dont even bother tryin to tell me you wouldnt b whingin that everything was too much the same if that happened. android fanboys just love to whinge. i love android, but i couldnt stand to see 5 new phones almost every single month runnin the exact same os with no tweaks at all LOL, where is the variety ppl?

    • Blah

      What the hell? Are you on your phone?

      Why the hell are you typing like you never finished elementary school?

  • joel

    You made a typo in the name. It's not "ville" it's "vile".

    • Mat

      I came to make the exact same joke... darn. :-(

  • Alex

    Lmaoo any skin will. ICS was designed from ground up to look sexy, and that it does. We don't need anymore of that crap anymore. Have you seen 4.0 Touchwiz? Might as well keep Gingerbread because they look like the same crap haha. And Sense, oh man... it's bad.

  • JC

    I have a Rezound and will wait to pass judgement on this unitl I have it. My preference would be stock ICS though, but it's not worth voiding my warranty over.

  • Elrando

    CM9 to the rescue!

    That said, if this is what skinned ICS is going to be like I'm glad I picked up the Nexus.

  • bikerbill

    When did a 1.5ghz dual core with 1gb of ram become midbranged ?

  • Kenny O

    Thank goodness for the good folks over at Xda.....I installed a "senseless" ICS rom on my sensation a few weeks ago, loving the pure ICS experience. I was hoping that the newer versions of sense would be less intrusive since ICS is so polished....but after seeing this video it's worse than I thought. I really wish the manufacturer would give people the option of a pure android experience.

    • Shark

      This does appear to be an early build so it is possible it may well change to be less intrusive and more cohesive with ICS.

      • Kenny O

        This is true.....

  • Sam

    All you cribbing about the UI should not buy HTC phones then or just root it and flash AOSP.

    If all manufacturers go stock ICS then Android will be come like iOS (Dull and bland) .

    I like Sense and AOSP and flash both every week or so.

    Choice is important and HTC Sense is one of the best skins out there.

    • Manuel

      Excellent comment.

      Totally agree, some degree of variety is good.

      • Merk

        Variety is good, not when it is forced.

        What is stopped Google from making all phones COME WITH STOCK and then the USER can add blur/sense/etc?

  • http://androidpandora.blogspot.com/ Myself

    looks fugly, also laggy as fuck, but i take that's because it's alpha

  • Jerry Lange

    Ummm still no soft buttons?wow htc

  • mike

    I didn't think htc sense could get any worse, but I was wrong. This is not ice cream sandwich... way to ruin android again htc...

  • tony

    stubborn people.. sense 3.6 is looking great already and smooth on custom rom.

    sense is not only skin, much more.

    but u newbies wont understand anyway

    • Ken

      While I agree that Sense is more than just a skin, I think that they should just leave the stock UI alone. They can make all the back-end customizations and small tweaks that they want, but I think that now that Android has evolved to have an extremely mature-looking UI, it's time for the custom overlays to disappear. Or, the manufacturers should at least let the user opt out of it. Sense used to be THE way to run Android in my opinion, but this seems to take away from the experience.

  • L boogie

    Despite everything, sense is the best of all OEM skins but recent iterations have made me wonder about manufacturer skins. No matter what, HTC and the like would continue applying their ui overlay over stock Android. I still say OEMs should provide the option of enabling/disabling the skins and though the ville is currently still in pre-production, this doesn't show the dedicated quality HTC plans to initiate based on the video. Let's see what happens at MWC.

  • Kevin

    QHD Fail!!! Sense 4.0 looks a little strange.

  • aaron

    notice the universal beats tho thats a nice addition and that animation is super sick but i imagine it will be hard to port

  • Tim

    I wonder if anyone has texted the number of that phone?

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Personally, I don't see how this is so terrible. They're trying to do something different on top of ICS, as they always have, so it's not a huge surprise that it looks like that. I don't see a big deal.

    • http://twitter.com/djrits Ritesh

      The big deal is - it looks UGLY and kills all the UI flourish ICS brought and what most people love ICS for.. A slightly tweaked skin would've been okay.. but this is just atrocious.. and the specs are boring anyway..

  • Ken

    NOOOOOOO!!!!! Ugh this pisses me off to no end! Manufacturers should leave the UIs alone, or at least let the user opt out of it. This really isn't that big of a deal though, because as soon as people get this they'll root it and install stock ICS, like it should come with anyway. It's just a shame that they have to do it themselves.

  • sriracha

    lol, even mention ICS and DL lets all the trolls off the leash.. damnit. and to give the flamers a little direction, i really like my HTC and really like Sense. when it's time to upgrade, i'll be looking for Sense.

  • Waazzupppp

    Why oh why can't HTC just build in the option to turn Sense OFF like in Windows Mobile past? My Touch Pro 2 could turn Sense off!

  • Mike C.

    I don't like sense on the Sensation. It's not bad, but raw Android 2.3 (like on my Nexus One) is better. As I understand it ICS is a lot better than 2.3. But I could probably live with Sense if it wasn't for the fact that it means that updates are coming late.

    Android is such a fast moving platform that getting firmware updates 6 months late essentially means that your phone is from a previous generation. If HTC's firmware customizations was just the stuff necessarily to get the hardware running, then we could have updates out in weeks - not months.

    It's such a shame with Sense, because I find HTC phones to be the best in terms of hardware.

    • http://twitter.com/djrits Ritesh

      HTC phones best in terms of hardware? Have you heard of Samsung? I hope, by hardware, you don't mean the shell of the device..

  • Jaz

    I agree. ICS is awesome by itself. Although I love htc sense the only way it would be better on ics is an update that will still let ics features stand out. I hope they change this soon. I don't like it one bit. On my evo 3d running gingerbread I love htc sense but stock ICS has so many better features.

  • http://squaredworld.tv u3k

    Matias Duarte is probably crying right now...
    It looks like it was designed by a project manager who is madly in love with PowerPoint. They need to leave an option for stock UI. This is just... footselfshottingly horrible.

  • Johan Boskamp

    I just hope the Ville will have nfc !

  • Vex

    Personally, this gets me excited. Unlike most (or so it seems), I really like Sense.

    I briefly considered upgrading my Desire to the Galaxy Nexus, but ultimately decided to hold out until I could get an HTC phone with ICS.

  • http://twitter.com/djrits Ritesh

    What the hell went wrong at HTC? HAve they lost all the people that used to make the awesome devices a couple years ago?

    This is yet another monumental FAIL coming out of HTC in recent months. 1.5Ghz Dual core Snapdragon? Really? Snapdragon? In 2012?
    And a VGA FFC? 0_o
    Still 1 GB RAM?
    And Sense 4.0 actually looks like NONSense 4.0... Just ruins everything that ICS brought to the table in the UI dept.

    • bay

      You!are FAIL.
      Ville is mid-range phone, but with high-end capabilities.
      And the Snapdragon has Krait cores this time. It's called S4.

  • http://twitter.com/djrits Ritesh

    Also, I think its high time for OEMs to run polls/surveys about how many people want the stock UI and how many actually HATE the OEM skins. They might be shocked..