HTC Announces Upgrade To Sense UI

On the heals of my post yesterday about how the mobile phone companies are altering and locking down Android comes an announcement from the handset manufacturer HTC that they have upgraded their Sense UI. While Sense differentiates HTC’s phones from Motorola’s and Samsung’s, it also started the trend of handset manufacturers developing their own UI layers, nearly making Android unrecognizable. I don’t dispute that the upgrade brings valuable features to Android.

One new feature is caching to their mapping app so that you can use the map & navigation in areas where there is no data connection. Unfortunately, while you can download maps for free, you will need to pay to use navigation. Another new feature is a web service called htcsense.com that backs up the phone, provides remote wipe, enable call forwarding, send map coordinates for trips, and locate your phone. There is no information from HTC about whether they will provide the web service for free or how much it will cost. Finally, as part of HTC’s software they are adding support for the Digital Network Living Alliance (DNLA) certification that will allow wireless streaming of pictures and video to TVs that also support DLNA.

HTC made the announcement about Sense along with their announcement of the Desire HD and Desire Z handsets, implying that the new version of Sense will ship with those handsets. HTC did not make any statement about whether the upgrade will be available for existing HTC handsets.