PocketNow is saying it’s got the skinny on a “non-final build” of HTC Sense 4.0, which looks destined to debut on the rumoured HTC Edge quad-core smartphone.
Though there’s no images (sadly) of HTC Sense 4.0 in action, we’re able to get some idea of what it’s like and what changes it will bring. In a nutshell, it’s shaping up to be the most significant revamp of Sense to date. The key features are:
Improved lock screen and layout
The custom lockscreen, the standout feature of HTC Sense 3.0, has been revamped, adding favourite contacts and notifications to the table. So as well as giving you quick-draw access to the camera et al, you can also fire off a quick call to your best mate/partner/mum and respond to that text as well.
There’s reportedly an emphasis on “reduced visual clutter,” and typography improvements, something we saw with HTC Sense 3.5’s more minimal approach (pictured above).
Turning a phone to landscape will also see things like menu tabs and icons staying on the right hand side of the screen (if you rotated the phone counter clockwise from portrait), to maximise the amount of content available on the screen at any one time.
Perhaps most importantly, PocketNow’s source says that HTC Sense 4.0 devices will not have on-screen keys a la the Galaxy Nexus. This means that screen space of the Edge’s 4.3-incher won’t be taken up by a small black bar.
Beats Audio support for third-party apps, improved email
The Email app has reportedly been given a respray and its looking like “the best-looking and most functional email client available for Android.” Threaded messages and emails come with a depth of field effect and read/unread messages are indicated by colours, instead of simply being greyed out a la Gmail for Android. For those using Exchange, there’s a Smart Sync feature that’ll learn your usage habits and make sure that mail syncs don’t happen during times of the day when your phone is normally inactive.
DropBox bumped up to 50GB, new features for the Browser, new ‘Guest Mode’
Best of all, DropBox integration is being beefed up to 50GB and the DropBox folder on the phone will be displayed as if it’s another physical drive on the phone.
When attaching files to emails from the DropBox, a DropBox link will be added to the email instead of file being attached, so it’s more friendly to your data allowance as well.
The browser, already a favourite of ours, looks set to come with a pair of bookmarking features – Read Later and Watch Later. These sound self-explanatory, and will give us the ability to mark articles or video for later watching. We’re not sure if this means that you’d be able to download video content for watching later (i.e. in an offline environment, like on the train) or not.
Let’s hope that HTC adds support for more than four windows at once to the browser as well.
Finally there’s also a Guest Mode, which locks out set features of your phone. So if you friend want to borrow your phone to make a call, you could potentially lock out all other features apart from the dialler, if you don’t want anyone nosing through your pictures after you’ve taken a call.
Official spokespeople for HTC here in the UK wouldn’t comment on this leak. But we’d imagine that a new version of Sense, whether it’s called 4.0, 3.75 or 3.14 would be announced alongside any new flagship device.
Better DropBox integration sounds pretty plausible to us; it’s a nice riposte to Apple’s iCloud and would bring HTC’s Android phones up to speed with what you get via SkyDrive on the HTC Titan and Radar.
An improved lock screen that looks to better the one that came with iOS 5 would be a nice development as well. After all, that whole camera-access-from-your-lockscreen thing? HTC did that before Apple did.
We’re expecting Mobile World Congress to be a big one for HTC – hopefully Sense 4.0 running on new machines will be among what it has to show us.