HTC's Sense launcher for non-HTC smartphones is in the beta testers' hands: first screenshots appear

HTC's Sense launcher for non-HTC smartphones is in the beta testers' hands: first screenshots appear
HTC's phones are well known for having their distinct in style and easily recognizable Sense skin on top of Android, yet it is not heavy or overbloated, allowing the OS to still feel close to stock. However, due to the company's less-than-stellar sales in recent years, it's very probable that the newest build of Sense have remained largely unseen by most smartphone users out there. So, it seems that the company has decided to share the beauty of Sense with a wider audience.

About a week ago, we heard news from members of the HTC Preview program, who reported that they have been invited to test something new. It's called HTC Sense Home 8 Beta and, get this, in order to participate in the beta test, the member in question needs to own a non-HTC smartphone with Android 4.4 or above. So, putting two and two together – it's quite obvious that HTC is making a Sense launcher for the masses.

Today, we get to see the first couple of screenshots from the launcher. While not much can be concluded just yet — we only see the app drawer and widget meny — it definitely looks like the same software on our in-office HTC 10. What should we expect from such a launcher? HTC's signature BlinkFeed (news and social media aggregator) will surely make an appearance. We are also hoping to get some of the Sense 8's advanced customization features, such as Freestyle layouts (place icons or widgets anywhere on the homescreen, untethered to any sort of grid). And we do expect the launcher to be overall on the light, snappy side.

On the question of availability — there is currently no information on when the HTC Sense Home 8 would hit the Play Store. Would you install it as soon as it does?

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