If HTC Has its Way, Sense UI Will Appear on WP7

Do you really want HTC Sense on your WP7 smartphone?

You have to give it to smart phone manufacturers—they really think they know best. Cue HTC’s latest statements that it thinks it will eventually be allowed by Microsoft to customize the Windows Phone 7 operating system. And here I thought at least WP7 would keep the endless customization attempts of manufacturers at bay.

“We have a good relationship with Microsoft so we’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,” says Drew Bamford, the head of HTC’s user experience. That pretty much sums it up. HTC wants to put its Sense UI on your WP7 phone.

Android already suffers from what I call manufacturer induced clutter. Do we really need every company making Android OS powered smart phones releasing their own customized user interfaces on top of Google’s efforts? Heck no. If anything, Android Gingerbread shows that Google is upping its game and creating a user experience that can stand on its own. While custom user interfaces can help manufacturers differentiate their offerings from each other, all it ends up doing is hurting us, the consumers.

A customer user interface from each company building phones slows down the update process. Why is the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone still waiting for the Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ update? Because the manufacturer decided to slap its own user interface on top of Android and lacks the resources or the drive to just update the darn thing properly. Manufacturers won’t release an update without their Sense, Motoblur, TouchWiz or whatever.

That’s not all either. Customer user interfaces gobble up RAM, processor cycles and generally just bog smart phones down. Not to mention creating inconsistence user experiences across different models. Use a BlackBerry and you can always expect the same experience. Same goes with the iPhone and Google’s developer phones that run unmodified versions of Android.

Should Microsoft let HTC get its hands on WP7 to customize it? No! Manufacturers need to realize that they’re just manufacturers now. Sorry guys but you all really lost out when you decided to go with WP7 and Android. You’re the smart phone equivalent of HP or Dell. Just be quiet and make the best hardware you can for as cheap as possible. We don’t want your custom user interfaces.

Think Microsoft should let HTC or any other phone makers customize WP7? Will it send WP7 down the same destructive path Android is headed with inconsistent updates, phones stuck on Android version 1.5 and general incompatibilities? Let me know in the comments.

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