HTC Sense 4.0

When the first leaks of HTC's new crop of devices started trickling out, a funny thing happened -- folks started to fall in love with HTC Sense all over again. Only this time, it was for what Sense wasn't doing. The on-screen widgets appeared to have been toned down. Gone was the large and inflexible series of buttons at the bottom of the home screens, apparentl replaced by a more traditional-looking launcher.

This is the new Sense 4.0.

Oh, there's no doubt you're using an HTC device when you look at Sense 4.0. But it's obvious the company was looking to pare things back a bit. And HTC told us as much directly, saying that it listened to customer feedback and that folks -- that's people like you and me -- said they wanted a more subued user interface.

And so while there's still very much a strong HTC influence over the Sense 4.0 phones -- you can't expect HTC to go completely stock, and nor would we want them to -- HTC made a conscious effort to give some of the power back, going with a less-is-more approach. Ice Cream Sandwich notifications work like Ice Cream Sandwich notifications. You get a more traditional dock. You get more customability. Icons rotate into landscape mode, as they should. (Hey, even HTC gets a little customization and flexibility back in this deal. HTC's excellent lockscreen with quick-launch icons remains, and we're glad to see it, as it's one of the best lockscreens we've ever used. 

We'll be giving Sense 4.0 a more thorough look in the weeks ahead. But so far, we're very much liking what we're seeing.