September 24, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
The new version of HTC Sense, set to appear officially first on the upcoming Desire HD, has been leaked to the Incredible and EVO. How does it look? Well, the latest evolution of Sense looks incredible.
Yes, I lazily managed to include two obvious puns in one sentence, but my mind has been drained by how much I love this new ROM. Can you blame me?
Not all of the exciting features we saw in the official Desire HD walkthrough are present, but here’s a glimpse of what the HTC Desire HD ROM looks like when ported to an HTC EVO. Rooted users can scroll down to the bottom to get instructions on how to load it on their phone.
Please be advised about the following problems before loading this ROM on the EVO
- This boots really fast (10-seconds) but has trouble booting back into the recovery mode. If you attempt to get off this ROM and the phone doesn’t go into recovery mode, remove the battery for a few seconds, then put it back in and re-attempt.
- It may sporadically reboot and freeze up
- The camera does not work
- The ROM identifies your phone as a Verizon device when browsing the Market
- Certain apps and games will be incompatible with this ROM
Skins & Scenes
HTC Sense has been polished slightly and looks pretty, pretty good. Skins are now easy to apply with the new version of Sense. Metal test puts a silver finish on Sense, Blackboard makes it less beveled, and Slate puts a smoother, dark grey finish on Sense. They look beautiful, and more skins are likely to follow once HTC releases the new Sense officially.
Scenes are accessible as always, but users will be able to download more from the HTC Hub. This will be great for customization-crazed users who want to share their creations; and those who want to a new look.
Widgets & Shortcuts
Most of the widgets are the same as what we’ve always seen with a few changes. There is less clocks and a new 4×4 People widget that shows your contacts with the latest interactions with that person. It looks gorgeous with the right skin. There are also new settings shortcuts to get to specific settings pages.
The best part is that widgets can now be edited. The previous versions of Sense required that users remove a widget and re-apply it; now, certain widgets can be changed. Drag the widget to the “Edit” button and settings can be re-applied.
Sense includes “sound sets” that collects audio files into groups for ringtones, alarms, notifications, messages, and more. These sound packs can quickly apply audio themes to your phone and are awesome. My personal favorite is the 8-bit sound set, but there are also sets for classical, harps, house, organs, and more. There are also ratings and comments so users can let others know which sets are best.
This is where users go to grab new content. Widgets, wallpapers, scenes, skins, sound sets, ringtones, alarms, and notifications are available for download. At the moment, it’s all HTC content but I’m willing to wager that they open it up to select folks soon. There’s also a locker to see what you’ve already downloaded.
Other New Apps & Features
Notifications – the pull-down notification has recent apps open, no longer requiring users to hold down on the home button to see the eight most-recent apps.
Blocked Callers – creates a list of people whose incoming calls are blocked.
Music – supports Dolby Mobile, SRS, and an equalizer to improve sound quality based on what genre of music is being played. (Requires hardware that supports it in Desire HD).
It also supports media streaming to connect the device to your computer or other supported devices.
Gmail - the new Gmail for Froyo is included. Priority Inbox, faster reply actions, speed increases, and more are available.
Keyboard – it looks slightly different and tends to type a little more accurately than what I’ve noticed in previous ROM’s. It’s also much easier to switch between languages. Bueno! Hyvä! And so on.
People – There’s now a launcher shortcut for searching for people, which is completely unnecessary, right? What is good is the new HTCSense.com will create connections between other Sense users, as will this new directory that allows users to share Footprints and app recommendations. Best of all, Sync only certain contact groups!
Calendar – it’s now searchable for titles, descriptions, and locations. Enable it by pressing Menu > Search > Searchable items, and add Calendar. Then perform search with the home screen widget or search button.
Searchable items – in addition to the Calendar being searchable, you can also search through call history, Facebook for HTC Sense, messages, and settings. (Some of this may already be available in current versions of Sense. Not sure.)
Transfer Data – When loading the ROM for the first time, it asks if you’d like to transfer data from your old phone to the new one via Bluetooth. Nice way to make the transition from one device to the next. It supports importing contacts and calendar events, even from non-Android phones.
Backups – users can back up apps and settings then restore them in the Privacy section. They can also push changes to their HTC Sync account so the same sets and hub content will be retrievable later.
PowerSaver - automatically adjust settings based on power level
That’s all that I’ve noticed in the ROM so far. If you have a rooted EVO and want to test it for yourself, download it from XDA. Download for the Droid Incredible here. You can also read this tutorial if you’ve never loaded a ROM before.