HTC introduces multitouch Sense UI

To welcome the launch of the new multitouch Android 2.1 devices named Legend and Desire, HTC announced an upgrade to its trademark Sense user interface today.

The upgrade includes a new view called Leap which is essentially a zoomed-out version of the phone's home screens. With a pinch-to-zoom gesture, the view backs out and shows seven thumbnails, one for each home screen. This feature actually leaked out in a custom ROM for the HTC Hero in mid-January, so this should already be familiar to HTC Android fans.

But there are also some new applications and widgets available with the new UI.

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Like Motorola's BLUR interface, HTC has incorporated a new application and widget into Sense which are based on the user's social networking activity. Called Friend Stream, the application pulls updates from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and similar sites, displaying them in a single feed.

Sense has also gotten its own newsreader app and widget, a feature that has heretofore been something of a weak point in Android. There are dozens of RSS reader applications that work suitably, as well as a number of Google Reader-integrated apps, but there have not been any integrated with the UI thus far.

The new Sense will be launched with Desire and Legend in Europe and Asia early in the second quarter of 2010 and will be available as an upgrade on the HTC Hero at that time. HTC did not offer a launch date for the Americas or Oceania, but it did note that the Desire will be available exclusively through Telstra in Australia.

HTC also produces Sense UI for Windows Mobile 6.5, and announced its intention to produce a version for Qualcomm's BREW platform last month at CES.

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