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Behold, the HTC Ville, seen here with Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC Sense Version 4.0.

The Ville (that's more than likely still a codename, which has been around since early November) appears to be done in the usual HTC fashion -- a rounded-off rectangle with a mix of soft-touch and metal. We can't help but be reminded of the HTC Desire and, of course, the Nexus One, but it's also pretty reminiscent of the newer Sensation as well.

It's a pretty extensive video walkthrough. The first thing that stands out is the 4.3-inch screen at qHD resolution, with a front-facing VGA camera up top. Then there's the fact that it has just three capacitive buttons below the screen -- back, home and menu -- exactly like the LG Spectrum. While the Spectrum's still running Gingerbread, we opined that the removal of the search button was to make way for the search integration in the ICS UI. We're not seeing quite the same search bar in this latest version of HTC Sense, but it still lines up. An interesting note -- what you see here doesn't quite match up with a render that leaked back in November, when it had four capacitive buttons. Figure it's easier to change a render than a device, so we'll expect three buttons when it gets official.

Other specs seen in the walkthrough include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera, with Beats audio thrown in for good measure. The Sense dock has given way to a more traditional Android dock -- here we see icons for the phone dialer, e-mail, app drawer, text messaging and camera, and there are app icons for Fruit Ninja and Antivirus, among a slew of other third-party apps in the app drawer.

We're kind of starting to salivate over the Ville (figure we'll get to see it at Mobile World Congress in a few weeks), but, man, it's tough to go back to a qHD display once you've tasted 720p. We'll just have to see.

Source: Youtube; via HTC-Hub (translated);
More in our HTC Ville forums; Thanks, Bruno!


Youtube link for mobile viewing

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Reader comments

HTC Ville caught on video, shows new HTC Sense on Ice Cream Sandwich

80 Comments

He was even kind enough to show his phone number in the video so his boss knows what number to call to fire him.

A different angle for Sense UI. I'll have to use it to see if I like it of course. The Hardware looks really nice too...nice change for HTC. BUTTT I can already hear folks bitchin about the QHD resolution.

Small, low def screen. HTC has invented the Droid RAZR.

Instead of focusing on the phone, HTC got side-tracked by gangsta rap and 3D last year. At least it is not 3D.

HTC Vile.

i have loved my EVO 4G for almost 2 years but this Ville underwhelms me.

dislikes -

1. clunky dated tired design with faux ornamentation on back.
2. Sense/bloat.
3. hard buttons and no ICS soft buttons.
4. smallish 4.3" display in 2012.
5. thick/chrome bezel.
6. qHD display.

likes -

1. BT 4.0

is this the HTC flagship for 2012? i hope not or HTC and Chou is in trouble.

The only thing I would question is the comment about a "smallish 4.3 display in 2012". Are you saying that you expect bigger displays to be the standard? Not trying to troll, just an honest question as I think we'll see a full range of display sizes and none of those determining if a phone is great or not.

IMO flagship cutting edge devices should at least match or exceed the display size and resolution of the most current G-Nex - currently 4.65" and 720p - soft buttons notwithstanding. otherwise you are just pissin' in the wind.

i'm not sure if this is an HTC flagship device or not - but if it is - HTC and Chou are in big trouble.

--

HTC: Fewer device models in 2012, looking for 'something special'

"We (HTC) have to get back to focusing on what made us great - amazing hardware and a great customer experience. We ended 2011 with far more products than we started out with. We tried to do too much. So 2012 is about giving our customers something special. We need to make sure we do not go so far down the line that we segment our products by launching lots of different SKUs."

http://www.androidcentral.com/htc-resets-focus-2012-aims-quality-not-qua...

I don't think who ever dinged you with a one star was quite fair as I can see where you're coming from. That said, I think that, of the higher end designs, 4.3 will probably be closer to the standard. A few of the manufacturers have taken chances with super sized screens but I don't think they're selling in enough numbers to warrant much more than a niche future.

Ultimately, it will be based on mass markets, Apple’s studied showed that their screen size would be the most comfortable for people to use while Android and Windows sales have proven otherwise and Apple may jump in line and release a 4” iPhone. If you look at all the variances, I may have to take a step back on my 4.3” as the standard comment and say that the only standard is choice.

When it comes to screen size, I still think of how not too long ago, Zoolander was poking fun at people trying to find the smallest phone possible. Is the new joke holding a Xoom to our ears?

This is HTC we're talking about the Headliners for the HUGE Screens. And in 2012 Bigger Screens means higher end. I really doubt their flag ship phone for 2012 will be a 4.3 inch screen with QHD resolution. Especially when they have 720p Screens out and 4.7inchers... Just be patient..

As for Sense.... Not sure if I like the new direction just yet. I actually expected a totally different lock screen. I guess we'll see at MWC

i wonder if their philosophy with Sense evolution is "more is better!" if it is - it could mean more bloat, more animations, more lag, more clutter, longer delays for OS updates. we shall see.

Sense gives me a negative ROI. there's no value there for me - only negatives. i got my big Fancy Widgets Clock and i'm gone to the G-Nex and that's all i need. and Beats is a gimmick just like 3D - no thanks. i'm voting with my wallet.

Ok, complaining about a non-Nexus phone not running stock android seems a bit unfair. For phone manufacturers there are only two ways they can differentiate their products from other companies, hardware and software. In hardware there is very little options, due to none of them being apple they all have several different form-factors all of which are pretty standard from one manufacturer to the next (many companies have a small phone and a large one, one with and one without a slide out keyboard...), everyone uses roughly equivalent CPU, RAM, internal storage, camera and other "guts" so there isn't much competition until there is another advance in making affordable small parts (first company to sell a quad-core phone will be able to claim they're the only/first). That pretty much leaves software as the only place they can set themselves apart from the other manufacturers.

tl;dr complaining about non-nexus phones not running stock isn't fair because that is the main way companies have of differentiating between themselves.

My impression is that the Ville is a Rezound for the rest of the markets - the earlier specs for it has been very similar.

The flagship seems to be HTC Edge with quadcore CPU etc.

i just happen to think that 4" screen is the perfect size, 4.3 is borderline ok but i prefer 4", as it is more packet friendly to me,just my opinion though.

Interesting that Sense would have those customized menus when Google said that all menus have to retain the stock ICS look in order for your phone to have access to the Market... Or did I get that information confused at some point?

I think Google said the "Themes" must retain a stock look...and even that is Vouluntary . . . Google isn't interested in forcing anyone to do anything.... Just suggesting.

Google only said that in order to have access to the Android Market and Google apps that manufacturers have to include art work for the stock holo themes. No one has to use them, but they have to be AVAILABLE for developers to use for their apps on all phones with Android Market.

So HTC can skin and them and customize all they want, as long as apps have access to the stock Holo theme from ICS.

so much for Google's attempt at keeping the settings and menus similar across all phones. HTC clearly has their own unique setup for every single part that i see in this video. Good or bad, left to the consumer to decide.

I might have misunderstood....but it seems to me like a Rezounds (without beats) plus ICS. Really doubt it's a flagship when....it's more of a repackage of existing devices like the rezound.

Ok it might be thinner, but thinner is not always better. The Razr does not feel comfortable in my hand....very edgy and sharp....the Rezound, Gnex are much better handling wise.....

its an early build probably....but nothing to make me run and sell my Gnex. Im so done with HTC Crap-Sense UI. Phone does look decent tho.

My Amaze 4g is more responsive on 2.3.4. I have a feeling this is an early software build on prototype hardware as many of you have said. The Amaze is much nicer in terms of the brushed aluminum bezel that flows into the brushed aluminum panel on the back. I am sure, whatever this is, it's just a functional lower end prototype.

From what I have read, LG and HTC are going to be introducing fewer phones in 2012 so they can concentrate on software and the end user experience. That, as far as I am concerned, a very good thing. Way too many Android phones hit the market in 2010 and 2011. It’s like a new car… the value is diminished 40% once you take it off the lot. In this case the phones are nearly at EOL the minute you walk out of the carrier’s store. I just purchased my Amaze three weeks ago and it is already near EOL. And the phone was introduced, in what, November. That is insane. Apple seems to get along just fine when they introduce a new phone once a year… the same should be true for LG, HTC, Motorola and the rest. We don’t need 25 new Android phones in the space of 12 months. That is just nuts. What we do need are good software packages that work the way they are supposed to work out of the box. Granted, no software package will ever be flawless, we will always have bugs and issues. But we should not have functions like Bluetooth or Audio or email that don't work properly, or at all, on actual release of the phone. I think these types of issues have come back to bit the manufacturers in the butt. My best guess is that they have realized this and are going to concentrate on the software vs. releasing a new phone (that doesn't work properly) every 3 weeks.

Really don't care for that dock. It looks like a third party launcher. Prefer the regular Sense dock which looks much more polished/refined to me. Overall, the Ville looks more like a mid tier phone than top tier. Anyway, no worries. Nothing here to tempt me from my Thunderbolt. Does that say T-Mobile when the notification bar is pulled down? If so, that explains a lot. ;)

No way this is HTC's new flagship device.4.3" QHD screen with only a VGA FF camera? A replacement for the newly-EOL Sensation...maybe. And look at that horrible battery door.Forget an extended battery for this phone.*sigh* The Rezound and Amaze4G already qualify as HTC's "flagship" phones.

The front camera is for "chat" applications. If you're attempting to seriously photograph something with your phone, you're most likely using the 5 or 8 MPX camera on the back of it.

I understand developers need to distinguish their phones, but why must they do it in such an ugly way? ICS looks fantastic stock!

That all depends on personal taste. I really hate the way ICS looks. It feels really sterile. I was a really big fan of the old HTC Sense, I'm not sure yet about the new version based off of the few screenshots. But the problem is it looks significantly more like ICS then previous versions looked like previous versions of the stock Android. For one, I loved the old rounded HTC dock as opposed to bar at the bottom of ICS.

I agree. It really is subjective. ICS does nothing for me. Sure it looks better than vanilla Gingerbread, but it still isn't as refined as HTC Sense. With that being said, I'm not entirely sold either on newer versions of Sense with the fancy lock bars and carousel home screens and app drawers. I actually really like the simplicity of the version (2.1) on my Thunderbolt. :)

Exactly, Sense is the epitome of design (if a but overdone in a few areas) and honestly what ICS should have been paying attention to. I'm not saying they needed to do EVERYTHING that HTC did but the overall design is excellent. I like some things about ICS but hate others and I can hardly wait to see what the various OEMs and third party launcher designers come up with based upon the ICS launcher.

While I agree this is Sense 4.0 I doubt this is ICS. I still think the phone is on Gingerbread to me. The phone looks pretty laggy too for 1.5ghz but it may be because its a pretty early build. The hard buttons and menu that looks like gingerbread disappoints me. I like HTC phones but not very impressed by this. C'mon now VGA front facing camera?

Looks like htc just got plan lazy w this phone or really just went the cheap route #teamverizon #teamiphone

This is the Rezound + ICS/Sense4.0 which we basically already have in ROM form. The UI looks sluggish as all get out vs what our devs have produced. HTC needs to concentrate more on how to give it more juice. The batteries in these phones are horrible. Or start hiring our devs like Samsung did.

qHD is fine for a screen that is 4.3 inches, I don't understand the complaining here. must be a bunch of kids that are never happy with anything... How close are you really holding it to your face? i have an EVO 3D and i am happy with the display. it's no AMOLED 720p like i'v seen on the GNEX. The colors looks awesome on it minus the whites, yuuuk. a screen of that size justifies the higher rez.

Video is set to "private" what the hell. Why post a video that we cannot watch. Not cool at all my friend. :(

More than likely it got back to HTC. They had the private notice placed until it can be fully taken down.

I'd probably get something else because of the qHD resolution, 720p is a requirement for my next phone, though I have some time to wait, november.
But I have to say THANK YOU for removing your old ugly three button dock.
The old dock just wasted too much space for that huge phone button, I have a thunderbolt, but I always run various degrees of desensed or aosp roms because the dock in sense bothers me so much. Now that they've removed it I might actually be able to use Sense, the Sense apps themselves email, mms and browser as well as many of the widgets are actually very good.
Only problem remaining is the dialer, I've never particularly liked htc's dialer, but I'm more flexible on that my current rom has the htc dialer and I deal with it.

Yay for dedicated buttons. It is encouraging to see that the stupid trend of no hardware buttons is not catching on. I dont want my screen polluted with software Nav buttons.

Same here. Prefer capacitive buttons that are always in the same location in relation to how you're holding the phone. It's more intuitive and plays into our body's natural tendency to use muscle memory. In comparison, soft keys can move around the screen depending on programming which can force you to have to stop and locate them.

How are on-screen buttons not in the same location exactly?? Hold the phone in portrait mode and the buttons are on the bottom. if you have a ROM that has 180 degree viewing, buttons are still on the bottom. Turn the phone to the right or left and the buttons are on the right hand side, everytime.

comparing that to capacitive...Portrait(normal) on the bottom. Portrait(180 degree flip) on the top. Landscare, either on the left or the right.

Seems to me that on screen buttons are in the same location more times than capacitive buttons

What you describe does have its advantages, but at the same time can be problematic. Since they're software based, the keys can change location depending on how they're programmed or how an app is designed to use them. Or considering a software bug, they can end up somewhere unexpected, show up but not work when pressed, or worse even disappear all together requiring a battery pull or reboot to fix. Putting that aside, the menu key in ICS is designed to change to just dots (to save screen space) depending on the function/app. Again, that lends itself to issues depending on how things are programmed. At a minimum it can be confusing to the user as to where the key went. Also, since they're on screen, there is the potential of accidently pressing/activating a key function when attempting to touch something nearby, especially when the menu key turns to only dots. In comparison, off screen buttons don't suffer the same issues and can always be found in the exact same location on the phone, anytime and everytime. :)

i guess i understand what you're saying. But those buttons can't be altered by apps without root permission. so they aren't gonna be altered at all, nothing changes unless you specifically tell them to change by rooting and downloading a custom bar.

i've had the Nexus since launch and there has never been a problem with them not showing up, showing up in the wrong place or any other bug that you mentioned.

I like them better cause they disappear when not needed and turn into 3 small white dots that aren't very bright. this happens when you are looking at pictures. they completely disappear when you watch a movie, unless you touch the screen.

the "menu buttong" thing can get confusing, i admit that. but it is always in 2 locations. if the app is made for ICS, then it is in the top right of the screen. just look at the google apps. if it is not ICS optimized, it is on the bottom right. so it might get a little time to get used to, but not that hard.

i personally find that there is no advantage in having hardware soft keys over on screen keys. I think there is all the advantage with on screen keys. both with ease of use and customization. right now i have a search key instead of the recent apps key. and changed the color to "ics blue". i made holding the home button bring up the recent apps menu.

Ok...play a video then tell me where the buttons are. Transition the screen and tell me where the buttons are.

Playing with the Nexus at the store, the loss of Nav buttons during transitions annoyed the hell out of me. There is no reason to remove them.

I don't get why all 'leaked' videos are always so low quality? Do the people leaking these videos not have a cell phone from the last two years? They have to have a camera that could do 720p video, surely.

My thoughts... meh, I still like my Amaze.

HTC is going to get RIMMed if they don't start innovating again soon. 3D and Beats doesn't count. don't blame Android commoditization. if you innovate you will be successful - see Samsung. if you are lazy and stop innovating you will die. over the last year - many of us have told HTC what they need to do to once again earn our business - but they play deaf and dumb and keep mindlessly spitting out the same tired and dated EVO-derivatives with gimmicks and bloat. so be it. live by the sword and die by the sword. just don't blame Android when you fail. i don't want Android competitors to point to HTC's failure and blame Android. if HTC fails it will be their own fault.

What is the "effective" resolution of the galaxy nexus when you take into account the soft buttons that are pretty much always present?

I've read somewhere (think it was the GN forums here) that the effective screen size with the soft keys present is 4.3".

i don't think they are as bad as the ICS "People", "Text/SMS", and "Internet" icons. i love the G-Nex and ICS but IMO those icons are too cheaply cartoonish and were poorly done.

Wouldnt get this phone but i know i will have it real soon on my rooted Sensation 4G so i can try it out:D

Whats the big deal about soft buttons? I personally prefer capacitive. And 4.3 inch screen is the sweet spot for most people. Not too big not too small.

I prefer the QHD screen myself. If I need HD resolution to watch something I've got a pc to do that. And without all those extra pixels which don't mean anything to me in everyday use, it'll get better battery life and better game performance. Now I'm just hoping the Snapdragon in this is the new S4

I'm not going to get into it too much, but I just don't like what they've done with ICS...plain and simple. Moto's iteration looks much better.

WOW!! (not a good one either). Sense 4.0 is hideous!! I'll give it the animations and that's it. The rest is ugly as hell.

WTF HTC NOOO YOU NEED SOMETHING TO KILL SAMSUNG ALUMINUM UNI BODY AN OLED SCREEN OF SOME SORTS THAT SENSE 4.0 IS SCREAMING ROOT ME NOW!!!!!!! I WANT DUAL OR QUAD CORE PROCESSORS AND SOMETHING THAT WILL KICK SAMSUNGS BUT I MEAN ALMOST BANK RUPT THEM Y NOT AN UPDATED DUAL OR QUAD CORE VERSION OF THE INSPIRE OR DESIRE HD WITH A HUGE FREAKING BATTERY? AND FINALLY GIVE US THE CHOICE OF SENSE OR STOCK SO WE CAN GET SOME FLIPPING OTA UPDATES QUICKLY IS THAT SO HARD TO COMPREHEND??

my point is start catering to power users people who hate bloat ware and care nothing for the sense ui or any ui skin accept something like cyanogen for example FINALLY TELL THE CARRIERS YOU WANT MY PHONES? COME TO TERMS THERE NOT JUST YOUR SLAVES THEIR OUR CUSTOMERS THAT BUY THE DEVICE FOR FUNTIONALITY NOT YOUR BRANDING SO GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND LET US DO STOCK OPTION SO WE CAN HAVE THE BEST END USER EXPERIENCE OUT THERE WITH AUTOMATIC UPDATES AND NO BLOAT WARE OR THE OPTION TO REMOVE ALL OF IT WITHOUT SCREWING UP THE CORE SYSTEM OR CRIPPLEING THE DEVICE RADIOS TO FUCKING KILL EUL EXPERIENCE TELL THE CARRIERS GO TO HELL LIKE AT&T MADE THE FLYER WHAT 600???? WHEN AN UNLOCKED DEVICE IS BASICALLY THE SAME PRICE WHAT THE HELL NO NO NO NO WE ARE SICK OF PAYING OVER 100 A MONTH JUST BECAUSE THEIR TOO LAZY TO PROPERLY EXPAND THEIR NET WORKS AND TAXY IT INTO THE GROUND AND WE HAVE NO VOICE BC WE SIGNED A 2 YEAR AGREEMENT THAT FORFITS LEGAL RITES AND THE WHOLE CARRIER IQ CRAP NO THERE SHOULD BE A LAW AGAINST THAT CRAP

Here is my question. Do you think that HTC will bring one of these phones out for Verizon with the "DROID" marketing label on it? They haven't had one since the Droid Incredible 2. I still have the OG Droid Inc and I am just curious if HTC would make another with that branding if Verizon poured money all over it?

It's anyone's guess at this point. I've never understood exactly what the Droid branding is suppose to mean other than just a marketing tool. Even though I'm a big Star Wars fan (the original trilogy in particular), the branding really doesn't do anything for me when I'm looking at phones. I actually find the "DROID" sound annoying.

Wow. Definitely not making me regret my GNex purchase. Washed out screen and it looks like Sense adds nothing desirable. Hardware buttons seems like a silly choice at this point too...