The trend of heavy custom Android skins reached a peak a couple of years ago with endless additional features added by every other phone maker in an attempt to 'enrich' the stock experience. The epitome of this is widely believed to be the TouchWiz skin: a custom UI that is often associated with a ton of features that are of dubious real benefit. Now, Samsung is scaling it back.
HTC has also inflated its Sense skin with features, redrawing icons and menus, and doing everything the company can to differentiate itself. Now, it's also scaling back.
Nigel Newby-House, HTC’s head of product, has said to journalists that the company is beginning the process of scaling back the excessive features of the Sense skin. Newby-House is pushing engineers to stop a largely meaningless venture of endlessly redesigning menus and icons, but instead focus on truly meaningful to HTC and its experience features like BlinkFeed, Zoe, and themes.
Another point that HTC is working on is a common issue: just ask every user out there who has bought a non-Nexus Android phone recently that every time Google announces a new version of the platform, it's more of a frustration than joy. The reason for frustration is the fact that it takes so long until that new update arrives to non-Nexus phones, and often it doesn't arrive at all.
So rather than working on a repetitive email client that users don't really need, HTC has now committed to pushing updates to its unlocked version of the One A9 within 15 days after it's pushed to Nexus phones. It's all simple: HTC is on a mission to make the phone less frustrating, and ultimately less of a full time job.