The HTC Sense 4+ user interface for HTC Android phones will be coming to a mobile near you in the next two months - presuming you’ve got an HTC One X, HTC One S or HTC One XL, that is.
Those who plump for the HTC One X+ will get the UI straight out of the box, but for everyone else HTC Sense 4+ will come bundled with the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for HTC phones.
So, what’s new in HTC Sense 4+? The answer is - not a hell of a lot but there are some subtle additions worth watching out for.
The camera app itself is largely the same. The only significant addition to the part where you actually take your shots is that you also get an on-screen reading of how many you’ve got left before your storage space runs out. Likewise, it will also tell you how many minutes you have remaining if taking video.
One nice touch is that, if you put your phone into standby by tapping the power button, and you happen to be in the camera app at the time, then you can bypass the lockscreen and go straight back to snapping when you return. This happens when you’ve chosen for your handset to be in Sightseeing mode.
Self Portrait mode
Sorry to tease but, unfortunately, if you don’t have the HTC One X+, Self Portrait mode is not something you’ll be getting. The reason is because it’s only with the One X+ that the improved, 720p, 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera is connected to an imaging chip which can add effects and filters while the image is still in RAW before the JPEG conversion takes place.
If you do have the HTC One X+, then Sense 4+ and Portrait Mode will detect your face and automatically make it look better by applying enhancements to your skin and eyes.
The Gallery app now comes with two new view modes with HTC Sense 4+. Alongside the ability to view by type come other ways to organise your snaps. You can choose to view them by location, in which case they’ll be displayed as pinpoints on an in-app version of Google Maps according to their associated geotags. The other way is to organise them according to the event at which they were taken.
Gallery picture apps
The Gallery app will now contain an area with access to other picture and video-relevant apps. In other words, you’ll find a screen with quick links to your Flickr, Picasa, SkyDrive, Dropbox and other such services which might be handy to get to straight away.
Music service apps
Much as with the Gallery, the music app also contains an area with access to other relevant music apps. This time it’s the likes of Spotify, 7digital, SoundHound and Tunein radio which you can tap to in one move.
HTC Watch 2.0
HTC Watch 2.0 also now gives direct app access to movie-related software on the HTC Watch home screen with Crackle, YouTube and the like all featuring. What’s more, Watch will be combined with a video hub to bring all your viewing content into one place. Finally, HTC Watch responds to a gesture to fling video from your device wirelessly and direct on to your TV - if you have an HTC Media Link attached.
Press and hold the home key and it gives you a shortcut to the Google Now mobile service. Google Now can find you places to eat, transport times and access to sports results and such. It's your friendly local search - if it works.
HTC Get Started
Possibly the most useful addition to the HTC Sense experience is HTC Get Started. The HTC Sense web application allows you to set up your HTC One mobile phone even before it’s arrived on your doorstep. You can personalise your handset experience from the comfort of your own computer. Then, when your phone turns up, you simply head over to the Get Started area, log in with your Sense details and, hey presto, it pulls down everything you’ve set up. Very neat.
When is HTC Sense 4+ coming?
HTC Sense 4+ will arrive as an update to your HTC handset along with the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. The drop has been scheduled any time from October onwards although you’re likely to be waiting well into November on some networks.
Which phones can get HTC Sense 4+
So far, we know that Sense 4+ will be available out of the box with the HTC One X+. Anyone with an HTC One X, HTC One XL or HTC One S will also be able to update to get it. No word as yet for other handsets. Don’t hold your breath.