HTC Updates Sense UI and Preps Portal, HD Desire and Desire Z Android Phones

HTC today unveiled two new Android-powered smartphones that run an updated version of the company's Sense user interface and also introduced a Web portal for the UI to allow users to manage their HTC devices through an online service.

The two new Android handsets are the HTC Desire HD and HTC Desire Z, and both will run the enhanced Sense UI that includes video editing software, a mapping tool, an integrated e-reader and an e-book store.

With the new version of the Sense UI, HTC said users can record HD videos or capture and edit images with a variety of camera effects, and HTC Locations, an online mapping tool, provides on-demand mapping without download delays. The e-book store is supported by Kobo, while the mobile-optimized e-reader includes the ability to highlight, annotate and quickly search for definitions or translate unfamiliar terms, according to the company.

HTC Sense will now also support wireless streaming using DLNA, so users can send a video from their phone to a TV equipped with wireless capabilities, or, by using HTC's wireless TV adapter box that plugs in through HDMI. (DLNA is short for Digital Living Network Alliance, and defines a standard for moving movies, photos, music and other media from device to device.)

Also announced today is the new HTCSense.com service, which allows users to manage their mobile phones from their HTC phone or personal computer.

"We're excited to be taking the HTC Sense experience beyond the phone to a whole new level with a series of connected HTC services we call HTCSense.com," Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, said in a statement. "Our customers will value the holistic approach we're taking to enhance their mobile experience."

For example, people can locate a missing phone by triggering the handset to ring loudly, even if it is set to silent, or to flag its location on a map. If the phone's been lost or stolen, users can remotely lock the phone, forward calls and texts to another phone, send a message to the phone to arrange its return or even remotely wipe all personal data from it. Users can also configure new HTC phones and access saved content, such as contacts and text messages, from a web browser.

On the handset front, the mobile device firm also unwrapped two new smartphones -- HTC Desire HD and HTC Desire Z -- both of which will be available in Europe and Asia next month, but only the latter will be sold in the U.S. Pricing and ship dates have not yet been disclosed.

The HTC Desire HD has a 4.3-inch LCD display, Dolby Mobile and SRS virtual sound, a 1GHz Qualcomm 8255 Snapdragon processor, 720p HD video recording and includes an 8-megapixel camera with dual-flash. It also includes a new HTC tool, HTC Fast Boot, which lets users perform basic functions, such as making calls or checking email, with a quick power-up sequence.

HTC Desire Z features a "pop hinge" that opens to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, 720p HD video recording and a 5-megapixel camera with automatic flash. It's juiced up by a 800MHz Qualcomm 7230 processor, runs Android 2.2 and also includes HTC Fast Boot.

"As a key Android partner and smartphone brand, HTC continues to bring new innovation to the platform," Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google, said in a statement. "Android is about choice and the new HTC smartphones continue to provide customers with powerful choices and flexibility."

The news of HTC's latest Android handsets and UI comes at a time when the mobile Linux Android platform is rapidly gaining on rival operating systems, Apple's iOS 4.1 and Research In Motion's BlackBerry 6. HTC released the first Android phone in the U.S., the T-Mobile G1, about two years ago, and since has become a major player here -- earning accolades for the recently issued HTC Evo 4G -- competing with Motorola and Samsung in the burgeoning Android handset market.


Android, Android 2.2, HTC, HTC Sense, Desire