Posts Tagged

sense

Despite how much I am involved with Android now, and my ever-growing addiction to the platform over the past couple of years, I was surprised to reckon a few weeks ago that I have never experienced Android like it was created and meant to be — ie. on a Nexus device. I have owned and used an HTC Desire Z, an Iconia A100 tablet, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an LG Optimus 4X HD, but never a Nexus device.  That’s because I live in Lebanon, where Nexus devices are a black market rarity and Samsung is everywhere.

However, I eventually managed to convince the local LG team to lend me a Nexus 4 for review. And *insert expletives* I’m blown away.

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I have used Android since late 2010, when it started becoming a more mature operating system and a respected player on the market. Although I switched to Google’s platform about 2 years after its initial release, the system has kept on evolving, and came to be my favorite mobile operating system. Android has been a trendsetter over the years and has introduced several handy innovations, such as a central notification hub, remote installation of applications and more. Even today, Android has features neither iOS nor Windows Phone or Blackberry have and remains a source of inspiration thanks to its unified sharing system and widgets.

Nonetheless, not all Android devices are consistent and easy to use at first, and many find iOS to be simpler to get accustomed to. While I don’t fully agree with this, I have compared the ease of use of my iPad with my Galaxy Note II, and it is clear that there are instances where Android could learn a bit from the simplicity of iOS.

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In the second of a new series on Android.Appstorm, I look in turn at each of the Android manufacturers and the changes they make to Android’s start up, interface and basic functionality. In each case, does the end result justify the huge investment in programming time and the resulting delays for end users in seeing each new version and update for the Android OS?

HTC’s Sense interface has received much criticism over the years, principally because it presented a face to Android that was just a little too different to stock. This was rarely an issue for new users, many of whom grew up with Sense, but switching from a Samsung or Motorola (or Nexus) device would typically involve a lot of head scratching and set-up time. Sense 5.0, here on the HTC One, is actually something of a rewrite — so forget everything you ever knew about Sense, this is more streamlined and refined. And, indeed, arguably close enough to stock Android that few may want to spend time hacking it around.

Up front and central is the new BlinkFeed homescreen, of which more later. Integrating social feeds into Sense has always been something HTC has been keen on, and the company has knocked it out of the park here.

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HTC has always held a place of honor in the Android community in general. Since the launch of the Dream, they have grown bigger and stronger and have not looked back. While still holding an extremely influential place in the smartphone industry, they have evolved from their humble beginnings into one of the industry’s largest innovators.

However, at this year’s Mobile World Congress, HTC’s launch of the One series of smartphones signalled a shift in philosophies that had served them well for the past couple of years, but was starting to show signs of weakness. I believe that this change is definitely for the better, and indicates exciting times ahead for HTC, consumers and developers.

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This week, phone and tablet manufacturer HTC launched HTCdev.com, the HTC Developer Center. Read on to find out what’s in store, and why this matters to you.

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There was once a time where the best of the best was limited to the most expensive handsets. To an extent, that is still true of the iPhone and high-end Android & BlackBerry devices. However, the open-source background of Android allows manufactures to install Android on any device they want, without stringent specification requirements.

Certainly, you should opt for the best phone possible to maximize speed and efficiency during your experience with Android, but what if you’re on a budget? Again, due to Android, phone-makers can pass off low-powered handsets as “smartphones” . That’s not true of the entry-level HTC Wildfire, which sports a relativity slick set of internals and a premium HTC Sense experience for under £200 (PAYG). (more…)