In Short

BlinkFeed lies at the heart of HTC's Sense UI, bringing news and social updates to your home screen

Information snacking

HTC BlinkFeed was first introduced on the HTC One in 2013. A novel (and somewhat controversial) feature at the time, BlinkFeed introduced a vertical-scrolling list of news updates, social feeds, tips, calendar appointments, task reminders and other items on the leftmost home screen page. BlinkFeed items are arranged in a grid and designed to be image-centric and easy to digest, something HTC says is designed to encourage "information snacking."

Rather than requiring you to load separate apps up to check social networks and news sources, BlinkFeed aims to bring everything into one continuous feed, accessible directly from the home screen. The aim is to make it quicker to catch up on what's going on in your world when you've only got a few moments to spare.

BlinkFeed in Sense 5.5

HTC Sense 5.5 expanded BlinkFeed's functionality, adding support for more sources including Instagram and Google+, as well as making it easier to add and search for content via a pull-out menu bar. Sense 5.5 also introduced the ability to disable BlinkFeed, allowing users to keep the HTC Sense launcher without the scrolling list of updates.

BlinkFeed in Sense 6

In HTC Sense 6, HTC introduced smooth scrolling in BlinkFeed, along with a more image-centric layout, and support for even more services and apps. Social posts are now displayed according to "likes," BlinkFeed can show restaurant recommendations through Foursquare, and there are even more options for news content. What's more, the color of BlinkFeed in Sense 6 can be customized through Sense's integrated Themes menu. In March 2014 HTC revealed plans to release BlinkFeed as a standalone launcher for non-HTC Android devices.

Influence on competitors

BlinkFeed was one of the first attempts by an Android manufacturer to introduce a news/social reader feature directly into the default home screen launcher, and the feature seems to have influenced major competitor Samsung and even Google, through its Google Now Launcher.

On the Galaxy S5, the Flipboard-based "My Magazine" feature is located in the same place as BlinkFeed, and works in the same way, providing a vertically-scrolling list of posts from social networks, blogs and other outlets. And while Google Now's functionality may differ from what's offered by BlinkFeed, it functions much the same as HTC's home screen reader, being accessible by swiping to the left and then scrolling through cards.