One of the greatest features of Windows Phone 7 has been the clean, distinctive UI, which manages to offer a different and instantly recognisable experience in a market where most competitors are simply aping iOS. Microsoft has been very protective of the UI and home screen, hoping to avoid the past mistakes of allowing OEMs to modify the user experience to the point of being unrecognisable. However, HTC wishes to bring its own unique modifications and customisations to the WP7 experience – and believes, over time, Microsoft will allow them to.
We have a good relationship with Microsoft so weâ€™re continuing to work with them to figure out how to enable a Sense experience without breaking their model. Our expectation is that we will be able to do more over time.
There have long been hints that HTC wished to bring their Sense overlay to Windows Phone 7, but they have so far been unsuccessful – at least with the first batch of Windows Phone 7 devices. The overlay, which HTC has applied to many of its Windows Mobile and Android phones, has been variously praised for its features and criticised for causing performance hits. HTC’s priority is clearly to have an HTC WP7 device be recognisably an “HTC phone”, whereas Microsoft’s aim (as with all of WP7) is for such a device to be instantly recognised as a “Windows phone.”
What do our readers think? Would Sense be an improvement to WP7, or would allowing OEMs to modify the UI so drastically open up WP7 to the same customising that muddied the branding of earlier Windows Mobile builds, and damage both the fast, clean interface and brand identity that Microsoft have worked so hard to build?