Yesterday, we saw the first glimpse of Sense 4 on Android 4.0 on the HTC Ville. While watching the video, I assumed that the handset was running Gingerbread since it looked just like previous versions of Sense (save for the updated launcher). The only thing that even slightly resembled ICS is the Roboto font in the clock.

Then it showed the version information, which made me feel physically ill. This is Sense 4 on ICS? Say it ain't so!

I use a Galaxy Nexus as my main phone and the Transformer Prime is my main tablet, so I spend a substantial amount of time using stock ICS. I can say one thing without question - it is the experience that I wish for every Android user. It's so good - if you haven't had the opportunity to use it, swing by the local Verizon and mess with the Nexus for a few minutes - you'll see what I'm talking about. The UI is amazing, Roboto is absolutely gorgeous, and the Holo theme is undeniably elegant and smooth. It's not just about the look, either; the ICS keyboard is unbelievable, the stock launcher is the best that Android has ever seen, the lockscreen is clean and useful, notification dismissal is drastically improved over previous versions - I could easily go on and on. It's just that good.

And then HTC got a hold of this beautiful thing and put Sense on it. If you haven't already, just watch the above video. Within seconds it's clear that HTC has little clue what users really want. Everyone has been waiting for ICS, and we've all talked up the use of on-screen navigation buttons for months, but what does HTC do? Gives this new handset capacitive keys. For the sake of objectivity, though, we'll let that design choice slide. This is about the software after all.

As soon as the device is unlocked, what do we see? HTC's attempt at a new launcher. It's good to see that they gave Rosie a facelift, but it still looks so... old. Actually, it reminds me of the now-outdated Launcher Pro. The guy (assuming it's a guy - if it happens to be a female with manly hands, I apologize now) swipes through a few pages in the app tray while we watch the launcher struggle to keep up with his thumb. Has this ever happened on my Nexus? I can't say that it has. I understand that this is alpha - or at the very latest, beta - software, but let's put it this way: If I were a betting man, I wouldn't be putting my money on HTC fixing it.

Then comes the settings menu. Have you seen the ICS settings menu? It looks fantastic.

Screenshot_2012-02-01-14-23-53 device-2012-02-01-143954 settings_0

Left: ICS; Center: Froyo; Right: Older Sense

Look at the ICS screenshot, then go check the 1:10 mark in the Ville video. I will give HTC some credit here - that window blinds-esque transition animation is pretty sweet. But it's not sweet enough to make up for what follows: the white menu. Seriously? Froyo (and it's predecessors), despite its ugly white notification bar, still had a much sleeker black menu (as did previous Sense phones). Combine the Sense 4 menu with those huge colorful icons, and it looks like a Playskool toy.

Then there's some more lag.

From there, the rest of the video is basically just the guy flipping through the menus, showing us the version information (twice), and so-on and so-forth.

I understand that Sense is HTC's big brand association feature, and that it's one of the main things that ties the company to its customers. For example, I spoke with a good friend of mine this morning who told me he just bought the Rezound. When I asked why, he told me that he liked the familiar interface from his previous phone (Droid Incredible). Basically, he's comfortable using Sense. Because of this kind of brand loyalty, I can see why HTC is reluctant to shed any of its skin to make way for stock parts of Android. However, if you take a look at HTC's recent Windows Phone offerings you'll notice one thing - Sense is nowhere to be found. They all provide the stock Windows Phone experience. Why is that? Microsoft doesn't let them. But HTC makes Windows phones, anyway, Sense be damned.

So, why single out Sense instead of TouchWiz or Blur on ICS? Because, using current leaks as the reference, TouchWiz and Blur still allow elements of ICS to shine through (for now, at least). Sense 4? No way. It's overbearing. It's in-your-face. It's at every turn, every tap of the menu, every swipe to a new screen. Homescreens, app tray, settings menus, widgets - they are all Sense. Like I said, the only thing ICS about this is the Roboto font. I'm not even sure I want to acknowledge Sense handsets as real Android 4.0 phones. They're Sense 4 phones.

This isn't brand-hate, either. Before my Galaxy Nexus, I had an HTC Droid Incredible, and I loved it. Actually, I still love it. I used stock Sense UI for the first several weeks of owning the phone and custom Sense ROMs for many months after. The majority of the time, though, it was running CyanogenMod 7 with GoLauncher themed to look like the Sense launcher. So, no, I don't hate Sense. I actually like Sense and find it very useful.

In fact, I don't hate most custom UIs. I think they provide individuality to Android. Each manufacturer gets its own way to makes its handsets unique, and I fully support the diversity (as long as it doesn't sacrifice performance, that is). What I do hate, however, is that some manufacturers (HTC, in this case) are getting more aggressive with their skins. Google spent a substantial amount of time making ICS look and feel good, and when a custom skin overrides all the work that was done to make Android what it is today, it's insulting to the devs who put forth all the effort required to make something that not only looks amazing, but works amazingly, too.

Think of it this way: how would you feel if you were an architect, and you designed a blueprint for a house and took the time to pay attention to every single detail, ensuring that everything looked great, then made it available for everyone to use. Then I came along, used your blueprints to build that house somewhere, only to cover every last inch in green and pink polka-dots and zebra print. Wouldn't you be a little bit insulted that I ruined what you worked so hard on, even if it's technically mine to do what I want with? Your name is on those blueprints. And how do you think that every person who had to live in (or even look at) that house afterwards would feel? But, what if I only painted one room with zebra print? That would be much more tolerable; in fact, some people may even like that.

While that example may be a bit extreme (Sense isn't that much of an eyesore, right?), the point is still the same. Manufacturers, create your custom UIs, but know that more isn't always better - you don't have to skin every last menu. It's okay to let some of Android's natural beauty shine through.

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.

  • http://RootzWiki.com b16

    Is that the launcher from Android 2.1? WTF HTC

    • jonathan3579

      The launcher is reminiscent of the myTouch 4G Slide to me. Anyone else agree?

      • Efraaflores

        That is the first thing that popped into my head when he unlocked it. It looks kind of like sense on the myTouch phones.

  • Danny

    Remember, it's just an alpha leak. The final software won't look anything like this.

    or maybe I'm just being hopeful.

    • Kevin

      Actually, I think the overall look wouldn't change that much. Just some underlying tweaks to smooth things up.

  • Jesse

    JUNK. Glad I dumped Sense for Cyanogenmod on my phone

  • Ross

    isn't it a little early to make a post like this? based on some blurry unsubstantiated video?
    I'll be the first guy to say HTC is slipping if they actually release this but that's not even close to a foregone conclusion at this point.

    • jonathan3579

      You say that but haven't you also see the TouchWiz ICS leaks as well? They're equally hideous! Skins have no real place in ICS. I was intrigued by the skin on the Huawei Ascend P1 S but it was stock-like.

      • Ian

        What skin? It has nothing more that a changed lock image.

        • jonathan3579

          Exactly! Lol.

          But I'm still a little curious about their "3D launcher" that was on the phones. It looked...just interesting.

      • Ian

        Your comment was too low to directly reply to, but the launcher they use it actually just SPB Launcher, or something like that. It's not cheap, though.

  • Alvin B.

    UUUGGGGLLLYYY.... cluttered and ugly. Just like Apple wants. I will certainly not be buying an HTC device any time soon.

  • SeptimiuB

    I believe HTC makes phones for 2 kind of people:
    a) they average joe that only buy htc because they love sense and are to used to it
    b) me, or you, or anyone with a little knowledge about android that will 100% root, soff and whatnot and de-sense that piece of hardware.

    you can't compare htc's hardware (quality build construction) with samsung, lg, moto..... and dear Cameron i'm fully convinced software is not a problem for you. I'm ready to make a bet that before this phone is officially announced we will already have a rom based on that build and a flashable no-sense script.

    • Eric

      Nope.. I root, S-off and use Sense ROMs..
      And HTC's hardware? Based on what?
      I had Samsung, HTC, Moto.. HTC wins hands down

    • JeremyB

      Or it will be like the Rezound and not come with any of that, and we'll hope HTC slips out a bootloader unlock utility.

  • Joris

    I agree 100% :)
    My first ever Android phone was the HTC Desire. Loved it! Loved sense. But now? Ugh, I hate it! Stock ICS is best imo

  • sriracha


    two words: alpha stage

    one more word: leaked.

    • David Ruddock

      Saying leaked software is non-representative of what will end up on the market is a bit dismissive. You know this is what Sense 4 is going to look like - maybe with some *minor* tweaks. HTC is not going to rewrite their entire overlay platform on a phone that is clearly getting close to announcement and launch.

      As for performance, based on observing Android handset releases for the past 2 years, I think it's more naive to think it's going to get a lot better than it is to think it's not going to get better all.

      Just my 2 cents.

      • Manuel

        Thing is, we don't know whether that build is two months old being recorded in the 31st Jan as the status bar pulldown seems to say.

        It may have changed since then, at least I hope so.

        • David Ruddock

          2 months ago, the ICS source code was barely available. I doubt they had made that much headway creating Sense for ICS at that point. I see far more evidence suggesting this a near-finished build than a very early beta.

          What you're saying is possible, but you do need to realize it's not probable.

  • ex-iPhone user

    I don't like that this editorial is based on a leaked video. For all we know this could be a scam. I'll read it more when we have the editorials based on official videos.

    • David Ruddock

      A scam? You realize this is clearly an HTC engineering test device, right? It has the trademark HTC confidentiality burn-in on the display.

      If this is a fake, it's a fake someone has spent an eternity on to release a minute and a half video in hopes of tricking a bunch of tech blogs.

  • Dom

    I'm only on my second Android phone now (HTC Inspire 4G) and I loved Sense when I first got it. Granted, my first Android was a Motorola Atrix (I can now see why everyone hates on Blur so much), and have since rooted the Inspire and am running a stock ICS ROM on it. I can't possibly see a reason why they would keep anything except for the lock screen from Sense 3.5 (which obviously inspired the ICS lock screen). If this is truly how Sense 4.0 is going to look, then I most certainly will not be purchasing another HTC device unless I know that I can root it and put some semblance of stock ICS (maybe CM9) on there.

  • Tommy

    The first thing I noticed was the insane amount of lag.

  • Chris

    This was the stupidist editorial about a rant from HTC sense that was supposedly leaked by a blurry cam and we have no idea yet if that will be the final version of HTC Sense.

  • archboy

    I liked Sense when HTC first introduced it. It felt new and made Android much more user friendly. As Android matured I find less necessary to skin it. I see that in touchwiz, and even Moto Blurr where they seem to have gone in the opposite of Sense. ICS is modern and Sense looks like it is still stuck in the 80's with big hair.

  • Jesta

    Try to convince others of this.... There's too many raving about Sense and, quite frankly, I just don't get it. Good editorial!

    • Kevin

      Not to mention it's a huge pain in the butt when someone knows you are an Android nerd and they call you for help. "Oh, you have a Samsung/HTC/MOTO what? Is that stock? You don't know? Uhh, what does the lock screen look like?" It's such a pain trying to figure out what phone has what skin and where the UI has moved stuff around.

  • Justin

    HTC, we thanked you 2008-2011. Now, it's time to obey Google cuz they know what they do and we will thank you again

  • KamikaZee

    While I see the point of people hating sense, I also see the main reason why HTC keeps it:

    The average user. You say:
    "Everyone has been waiting for ICS"

    Which isn't true. Not every (Android) smartphone user is an experienced flash-a-holic.
    I'd say sense is actually a pretty good android skin, functionality wise. Look is quite subjective, and I have to admit that I don't really like the stock sense look any more, I have been using skinned sense for a year, then CM 7 for a few months, now on ICS, which definitely is sexier than anything out there.
    Still, many sense functions are just great, the dialer is still probably the best dialer there is (exDialer is a close second),
    their widgets were better than anything stock until ICS.

    There are many people that actually like their skinned UIs, and got used to them.

    Let's assume an average Joe buys his first smartphone and it's a HTC/Sense device.
    Let's also assume that he's happy with the way it works.
    Now when HTC decides to throw everything sense out the window and offers a stock ICS experience, our average Joe will be very irritated when he upgrades his phone.

    99% of the things manufacturers do is because of the mass market.
    Things like allowing bootloader unlocking are only done because of vocal complaints.
    I like HTC phones because of their build quality. My Desire HD feels much more solid than any Samsung phone I touched (which are great phones still :D).

    In the end, I don't really care what they do with sense, I buy their phones for the build, then flash whatever I like. Many people will be 100% happy with sense 4.

    I still think manufacturers should allow de-skinning of the phone. Build the Rom in such a way that any skin can be turned off rather easily.
    That would make everyone happy

    • Eric

      this :) .. better than the post's rant

    • Cameron Summerson

      Where was it suggested that HTC should "throw everything sense out the window and offer a stock ICS experience"?

      That wasn't the point, at all. Never was it suggested that HTC should do away with Sense, but rather tone it down.

  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com PixelSlave

    Put the blame back at Google, please. I am at a point that I no longer have the energy to blame the OEM (they will never give up, so why bother.) All Google needs to do is to require the OEM to let user switch back to the stock UI, period. That's all Google needs to do. The OEM can make their skin the default. That's fine, but the user should have the choice to switch back to the stock UI. And, for folks like us who often need to troubleshoot for our friends' phones. The first thing we will do is to tell them, "push that 'switch to stock UI' button, then proceed from that.

    • patches152

      there's a lot more to a UI like sense than just a skin. there are apps, widgets, it's pretty much a large portion of the actual OS as far as the user is concerned. to be able to "flip a switch" and choose between the two is a larger task than you think. however, being able to uninstall bloatware and the UI itself (because there are stock apps underneath all of these, usually) is a feasible option.

    • Yan

      Not really feasible without a major rework of android. Sense/Blur/Touchwiz are completely integrated into the OS. Think of it as a car platform. AOSP is the default model car built on the default platform (say Android 4.0). Sense is a sub-model that takes the same platform but changes how the doors look, maybe the mirrors, completely revamps the dash, moves and changes the seats a bit etc. The parts are now not inter-operable between the base model and the sub model even though what lies under the hood and the body panels might be the same because everything else has changed.

  • nerdshowandtell

    It's time for Google (if possible) to require OEM's who want to use Google Services, etc, to have the option on first-boot to select CLEAN OS, or even different user levels.. So say - Fisher Price (you know like iOS), Default (Sense UI or whatever customizations the oem wants), Advanced (clean OS - fully rooted, etc). This would solve so many issues, both for your every day user to advanced developers / rom enthusiast, etc.

    • Kenny O

      I could not agree with you more.

    • L boogie

      I also agree with this option, because manufacturers are gonna implement their ui interface with the android os no matter what....... If Htc is going to recuperate their losses, they're gonna have to work extra hard to deliver the quality product they mentioned not too long ago, though this video just proves there's much work to be done


    and HTC is surprised why loosing in Android race ... their Sense is a dinosaur now, ugly and not much of a refresh. How much money could be saved just going with standard Android ICS theme, how much time would it be saved when releasing updates when without Sense.

    You will gain money^2 (money*time and we know that time=money)

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

    It's too early to be THIS critical of Sense 4.0. It doesn't matter if what is seen in the video was current up through yesterday because they still have a long way to go before a release version drops.

    Further, and I emphasize for fun and not for insult, but WTF is wrong with you that you like the window-blind animation? Brutal honesty here, the fact that it's the thing you liked actually makes me wonder if you are the person who should be talking about what looks good and what doesn't. Just bow and admit to bad wording ;)

    I generally agree that I don't like seeing skins that affect the whole of the OS. With the exception of TouchWiz, I typically like that each company has it's own fairly unique launcher (but let's be honest, TouchWiz really is too much like iOS and it really isn't very good). But we are a different crowd than the average buyer, and for that market the OEMs want to push the value-added perspective and differentiate however they can. I'm not gonna say I want it that way, but it's understandable that they do.

    The real solution is that Google should add a requirement that any certified OEM must include a toggle in Settings (or less ideally a supported flashable package) that would swap in the Stock Android Experience and remove the OEM modifications. I say that OEMs should be allowed to include any modifications they want (as long as they aren't massively damaging) as long as users can still get Android the way it was intended to be. It's absurd that they only stock android most people can get is limited to noticeably flawed devices (both HTC and Samsung) which are released about once a year on a really limited list of carriers. The problem goes away if you can revert to stock on any phone that comes out.

    • Cameron Summerson

      If I were a betting man, I'd be willing to throw down some serious cash that the release version of Sense 4 looks nearly identical to what we see in the video.

  • italyanker

    And thinking that I was searching for this video everywhere on the net! -.-
    It's always the old Sense imho, with some new cool stuff, but basically is one year back the other companies! -.-
    And Android is also opensource, so technically and legally, HTC have freedom to make what he want to and with its Android!
    But it's not a great commercial move! Seriously!!!
    I think i will buy a new great tegra 3 smartphone from other competitors!Delight me, men!

  • mw

    In the beginning Android really needed that extra interface sparkle that Sense could provide - I had a HTC desire that worked well with Sense on FroYo. With ICS, this kind of customisation is simply not needed. Perhaps put more effort into theming ICS (changing colours, etc)..

    • Cory

      Agreed, Sense def helped in the earlier versions of Android in terms of ui/ux, but its not need as much with all Google has done in ICS. But are we really suprised???? ~~>Give 'em an inch, they take a mile!

  • Kenny O

    I really hope that this is just a test build and it's going to be much better......but I'm not sure it will be that much better. The Sensation was my first Android experience and I did not care for Sense from the start. I am running a senseless ICS Rom and it is amazing. I was blown away by ICS when my Prime was updated and equally impressed with the phone's performance. It is a shame that one has to go through the process of rooting and flashing a custom ROM in order to achieve this kind of performance from a high end phone.

  • omnom

    Android users are the most hypocritical.. on one hand you criticize WP7 for having no differentiation in their software and on the other hand you criticize HTC for using sense.. you see the problem? Honestly, IMO ICS is ugly as sin and besides who are you people to tell HTC what to do... 99% of the market doesn't even care what is on their phone as long as it works. Besides, stock android phones (besides Nexus) do NOT get updates faster (i.e. Tmobile g2 and g2x) and on HTC phones on XDA, most people like sense and 80-90% of the roms for those phones are sense roms.. do you see the majority of people on samsung phones leaving touchwiz? not really.. many of us had the choice between the Sensation and the Galaxy S2 and we chose the Sensation because it offered HTC Sense.

    • Cameron Summerson

      It's clear that you didn't read the piece in its entirety - the point isn't "Sense sucks! We want stock!"

      I actually like Sense (and most other custom UIs), but I think HTC is taking it too far by skinning every possible piece of the OS.

      • omnom

        well I get that but isn't it better to have a coherent ui? I think that if HTC were to combine both the holo ui with its own it would turn out quite ugly. As seen with a leaked sensation rom, there are still some evidence of holo ui and some users were complaining how there were inconsistencies.

    • Randy Magruder

      ICS is ugly as sin? What kind of crack are you smoking? I'm sure some people, such as yourself, don't like it, but most people love it.

      • omnom

        thats why its "IMO" .___. no need to get so worked up

    • Kenny O

      While I don't share your opinion regarding the aesthetics of ICS, I respect it as it it clearly a matter of personal tastes and who am I to challenge that......but I disagree with your logic about people being hypocritical to criticize an OS for lack of differentiation in software - what I think most people dislike about iOS and WP7 is that the end user does not have the choice to customize to THEIR liking. It's about choice. Even without rooting Android offers a ton of customization. I just wish OEM's gave you the option of the stock experience instead of forcing it on you, especially when Sense causes unnecessary lag in some devices.

    • cosmic

      The critiques on WP7 lack of differentiation falls mostly on customization. There is no customization for better or worse.

      The critigues on sense 4.0 is the changes that have a negative effect(a lot of lag/unneccessary transitions). It still has the ability to customize.

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

      why do they like sense? why does anyone like sense?

      not trying to be a smartass, just curious

  • Rob

    I'm just glad I'm using CyanogenMod 7.1 on my HTC EVO and that my next phone be the Galaxy Nexus when it drops on Sprint later this year. Unless T-Mobile gets it and can provide better coverage.

  • italyanker

    Ok, my past comment was not so good. But i don't think i'll use the Sense 4 if i buy a new HTC.
    I also hope that this Sense was like the first Android sold by HTC, the g1 and that they'll adopt the new Holo UI of Android 4 and integrate it with an all new sense.
    This UI sucks! :\

  • Goat cheese

    It's clear that Android users have no idea how to implement good software. By criticizing Sense 4.0, you basically choke development of future software, making way for Google Dominance.

    Down with google!!!!

    • diable

      Are you high, google makes android

  • Josh

    it just looks so... SenseUI.. same icons, apps and widgets just on top of ICS.. sad they aren't letting more of ICS to show through.. I'll stick with my Nexus thanks!

  • Derail Doax

    Eh. I don't hate them for for putting Sense UI on it. The Galaxy Nexus already exists with its stock ICS glory. So anyone who wants a fully stock ICS experience knows where to go. I love stock Android like all the other techies out there, but there is a market for everything Android and an option for everyone. For me I like stock and I have my options. But people who liked Sense would probably like to have their experience look like what they're already used to.

    Also I think its a little silly being upset about the capacitive buttons. Obviously with a 4.3" qHD screen, and capacitive buttons this phone was started before the Gnex was released with its 1280x720 HD screen without dedicated buttons. This is a phone that was designed to have 2.3 on it but recently has been redone to have the newest version of Android worked onto it before it was released.

    I have an upgrade waiting on Sprint for the Gnex to launch, and I have an upgrade on T-Mobile that is coming in 14 days. So I might try both. Currently I have a HD7, but without a 4.3"+ screened Windows Phone on T-Mobile I might just jump to the Ville if it comes out soon. I like Windows Phone as an alternative OS, but its really just not as useful as Android overall. Without an official Google Voice client it leaves me wanting more.

  • tony

    go back and sit in a corner with ur galaxy nexus, stupid with no hw buttons is doing android bad

    u dindt even see full sense yet its gonna be 10times better then aosp lol and this comes from aosp user

    sense is not only UI! this site really lost my respect, sense is for casual users and aosp is for tweakers

    it aint even out yet

  • protozeloz

    I think they need to fix this. Yes we saw blur and we saw touchwiz but they still allowed some ICS elements to shine and they where test for devices that currently extited. You ever saw a Galaxy S with the S2 launcher? Heck even some blur phones have different launchers. But this device is a brand new phone. Its not even a leak of an update for an existing device. And looks seriously dated! I know it has it tricks here and there but it could be beautiful and cool. Sense needs a refresh

  • Alex

    I went through all those garbage phones and finally notoced how stupid i was. All im getting from now on is Nexi. Stable and fast. Nice stock android. No gay touchwiz or anything else. I love my gnex!

  • Freak4Dell

    Sigh...I really wish Google would just command some more control of Android. Tell the OEMs to either stop putting skins on it, or make it an option. That would speed up updates and make sure that the revamped Android design team at Google gets the credit they deserve.

    Excuse me while I zip up my flame suit to protect myself against the "but Android is all about being open" crowd.

  • http://fc1032.blogspot.com Brian

    HTC, just chuck in your weather clock/app with nice wallpapers... those are the only real things I like about Sense.

    Plus 4.0 has improved alot, we don't need sense as much as we did in 2.1-2.3 when stock lacked some features

  • Zachary Jacob Zblewski

    A phone UI design made you "feel physically ill"?!?
    First world problems much?

  • https://steamcommunity.cim/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    I've jumped into Android using a Nexus device, and I'll most probably keep it that way.

  • NuLL.n.VoiD

    Sorry but the rant sounds just like what the manufacturers say when a dev takes their ROM and strips the UI, puts custom toggles in the notification area and switches the kernel. They think it ruins the experience and work they put in to branding it. Android is the way it is. It's open for all to modify.

    • Cameron Summerson

      If it were "open for all to modify," then rooting and ROMing wouldn't void the warranty.


    My first true smartphone was the Incredible. I got on day one because, it runs Sense? No, but because Cyanogenmod support was promised to this phone. Love stock, hated Sense. Then I got the Incredible 2, same reason.
    Like it has been said Sense is no longer needed now that ICS is running wild. The same with TouchWiz, Blur & every skin out there for Android. Can't the OEM's learn a little bit from ASUS? The Transformer Prime is a sweet tablet that has very little modifications from stock & what's better, you can switch off its "custom" skin & get the stock ICS look & feel if so you want. So, if a company that knows nothing about phones & tables can provide such options and quick updates, why can't you do it HTC, Motorola, LG, Samsung? I might not get a Galaxy Nexus because Im ditching Verizon, but whatever phone I get, will be Cyanogenmod-ready.
    Just my 2 cents...

  • squiddy20

    Wow. Looking at the lag on this kinda reminds me of the amount of lag on my current phone, a 2 year old Samsung Moment.

  • jad911911

    "And the Lord of Android held his staff high and spake thusly: “Verily, I tell ye that no one shall defile the Holy Android Source unless I present it unto thee with thy blessing!” And Behold! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Land of Android. And the ancients wept openly and the ire of the youth increased one hundredfold. And darkness descended over the land." — “Moses” - "some Android Forum"

  • Justin Moore

    Leave it to HTC to take the greatest iteration of any mobile OS to date and make it look like stock Donut with GDE launcher on top. HTC just set Android back three years in the looks department.

    This is what's wrong with Android: Not fragmentation, per se, but manufacturers so in love with their own ugly, slow, proprietary skins that they totally miss what's important to users.

  • http://headbangers.in Subhramani

    Beautiful article. There is just way too much distance between me and any text. But I read the whole damn thing.

    • Cameron Summerson

      Thank you, sir. Much appreciated.

  • mpeg

    GOOD ARTICLE! HTC want's to implement their sense on each phone and spend about 6 months to do that, and get it work only on the new phones. And the older ones but witch are capable to run the newest Andoid versions are left behind cause IF SENSE DOESN'T RUN ON THEM THEN NO UPDATE. HTC Sense sometime is cool but uses lots of resources. Android 4.0 looks damn good and should run how it was made not modified. Anyway sense suck when you install lots of app. you get FC and resets. SO FU HTC!

  • andrew

    just remember the sensation Ics sense 3.6 leaks look identical to gingerbread (e.g. App manager)

  • TBolt

    Posting an opinionated rant based on THAT useless video is pretty sad even for bloggers. The video isn't a full demonstration, and there is no promise that it's even a complete product (of course it isn't).

  • asdf

    I wish manufacturers made it easy to OPT OUT of their customizations, and let users choose to use stock Android.

    • Jim

      Only in a perfect world..

  • edd

    Used to love HTC hardware, but their handsets got boring and clone-y.

    Used to love HTC Sense, especially on 2.1, but since then it became laggy and cumbersome, always seeming a step ahead of their hardware.

    In short, I need HTC to be a lean, mean, fighting machine if they want me back as a customer (and I'd love to be one again, however much I love my SII).

    Also, I never understand why Sense cannot be offloaded into a launcher-esque style. Go Launcher is amazing, extensible, and fluid, and I wish Sense was that lean.

    I get that Sense goes deeper than the launcher, and that they want to keep it locked to their own handsets, but there must be a better way of implementing it.

  • Joseph

    HTC really needs to offer Sense as a separate app - and allow users (who want it) to install it if they want. I agree with the article - Sense will negate the advantages that the stock android OS brings.

    Look at the EVO 3D - you can install a new launcher, but Sense still runs and hogs memory. Root and install a stock ROM - it is sooo much better and more responsive!

    I do like some features of Sense - but as an option. Don't force it on users (and definitely don't ruin the ICS experience)

  • Kree Terry

    so glad i skipped all the BS and just got a gnex. ICS seriously fixed all my complaints with android and too see HTC cover it completely makes me want to vomit.

  • dsb9938

    Hater review for haters to orgasm on. You can't review a build that was never meant for you to see. I seriously think Androidpolice published this as filler. It says nothing and shows nothing. If you don't like Sense, don't buy HTC. If you're going to review Sense, do it with a release version, and don't go into it hating the thing. Kind of pointless. This entire article could have been replaced with three words: I hate Sense.

    • Cameron Summerson

      "This isn't brand-hate, either. Before my Galaxy Nexus, I had an HTC Droid Incredible, and I loved it. Actually, I still love it. I used stock Sense UI for the first several weeks of owning the phone and custom Sense ROMs for many months after. The majority of the time, though, it was running CyanogenMod 7 with GoLauncher themed to look like the Sense launcher. So, no, I don't hate Sense. I actually like Sense and find it very useful."

      Read before you comment.

      • dsb9938

        I read the thing, twice. But I've also run Sense on ICS, several versions. And I also just sold my Nexus. I cannot stand the blandness of Android by itself. But I don't go slamming it. And I certainly don't base my opinions on works in progress. If you said one single positive thing, besides the standard "I don't hate any overlay" disclaimer, I missed it. That video is a horrible example of what Sense on ICS will look like and writing an article based on it was a mistake. Of course that's just my opinion.

  • Me262

    The ICS Galaxy Nexus lacks dozens of basic features that HTC will add including Facebook Sync, LED Blink Rate control, Charging LED, microSD, Speed Dial, Smart Dial, Messaging Enter Key, Browser Zoom, full contact record search, timer, Stopwatch, and dozens of other basic features.

    Once Google can offer basic features in the Pure Google Experience, then it will be something to consider.

    Today, no one willingly wants a Pure Google Experience. We strp it out and replace Google apps with current apps.

  • Freak4Dell

    It's hilarious that people think HTC is going to completely change how Sense looks between that video and whenever the phone is released. Like HTC really went to the hard work of putting a version of Sense on a phone, only to completely change it later. They'll probably speed it up a bit, but it will look pretty much the same.

    • dsb9938

      Considering the 4 different versions I have seen were all different, not to mention that there are already 4 very different flavors of 3.5, yeah, it's acceptable to think it will change.

  • Kane

    Worthless rant. You realize this is built on the linux kernel right? So vi is better than emacs and kde is better than gnome!

  • Gordon

    vote with your wallet. HTC will get the message.

    i'm getting the G-Nex.

  • Soham

    Absolutely n totally agree with your post. I just put CM9 on my 2 year old galaxy S and it looks soooo beautiful, the fonts, the menus, the launcher, everything is just so elegant. I'm not sure why HTC, LG and the like spoil the core ideology behind ICS and the new UI, Roboto etc. It looks soooo ugly! Sure I probably can put CM9 on this but why do I have to go the hackers way all the time?

  • Eggcake

    Actually I totally disagree. You already start bashing on Sense 4.0 before you even tested it.

    And I DO think that HTC knows what the users want. They knew it before Google did at least, and they still know it.
    And again: rating something by it's alpha version is wrong in my opinion, especially rating the performance of an alpha build.

  • Peter

    anybody here tested sense 4.0 ????
    its pretty funny how the writer tries to convice everybody that sense 4.0 is a bad choice...

    i am using a leaked sense 4.0 rom for about a week now. its a beta and was resized for my Sensation. and i like it! its pretty great!

    i've used CM7, CM9 and AOSP ICS so i know how the Stock ICS looks and feels.
    it looks realy nice and surely it is sometimes a bit faster than a sense Rom
    BUT the stock ICS is in many ways not that inovated compared to GB. the widgeds are almost the same like in GB and cant be compared with the sense ones.

    for me the main difference between stock ICS and a Sense is that on stock ics i need to start an app from laucher or from homesreen to do something (for example: weather, twitter, facebook, calendar).
    with sense u can start the app the same way AND additionaly you have the ability to do this with the widget on your homescreen wich give you great possibilites. you simply cant compare the usebility of this widgets with the stock ones! In stock ICS i miss these widgets!
    besides that i prefere the Sense dialer,contacts, music-app, lockscreen, mail-app, CAMERA(in sense4.0 is great)

    so, why not let the people decide for themself what looks old or what they like and what not?
    its good to have some player that does some serious customization with the UI of android. if every manufacturer would just take the Stock Android UI we would just have the choice between Android and iOS...
    sorry for bad english ;)

    • Peter

      btw benchmark results are great too:

      quadrant2: 3832
      Antutu: 7598
      CF-Bench: 7334
      Nenamark: 44,2 FPS

      nenamark is pretty low because its a ported rom and optimazed for the Tegra3 instead of my Qualcomm dualcore.
      batterylive is about 20h with heavy ussage.

    • Eggcake

      I agree. The writer didn't even take the time to test sense and it's obvious that he hates any custom UI if you read the first part of the article. Sense 4.0 could have been anything, it would have sucked anyway because it replaced the precious ICS stock experience.