HTC BlinkFeed — there if you need it, not if you don’t

If you have been living under a rock for the past few days, HTC introduced the HTC One this past Tuesday. Along with the HTC One, though we’ve gotten a new version of HTC Sense to sit on top of Android 4.1. The latest version is 5.0, and it introduced many great new features. The biggest change will be BlinkFeed, a home-screen feed which aggregates content from your social networks and over 1,400 different news sources to deliver the news and content you care about the most.

As great as it looks, we’re sure not everyone is going to like it. One of the biggest questions regarding BlinkFeed was whether or not it could be disabled. Folks fear BlinkFeed will take up valuable system resources and consume unnecessary network data, so they stormed HTC’s blog with questions to see what could be done about making sure it’s not interfering with their lives.

Thankfully, HTC responded, and we now have a more clear idea of what users can do to bypass BlinkFeed. For starters, BlinkFeed is your default home-screen, but you can specify your own default home-screen if you’re not fond of this behavior. Secondly, you can disable some or all elements of BlinkFeed if you so choose. In the case of disabling all of its elements, it sounds like you’ll be able to manipulate the home-screen it occupies by either deleting it or replacing it with another home-screen.

You can’t blame HTC for trying to innovate, but you can’t blame users for not being receptive to that innovation, either. Let us know if BlinkFeed is something you’re looking forward to or if you’ll be looking forward to disabling it the first chance you get.

[via AndroidForums.com, thanks EarlyMon!]

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  • Brandon Watkins

    Well I use Google current all the time so, as long as I can get my normal news Ill be glad to try it out. I definitely won’t be using it as my home page. Out of all the new features I think I’m looking forward to the Remote control, and the simple fact that sense is getting smaller. Going more with stock android is happy news to hear.

    • John Wentworth

      the remote control is an awesome feature, I agree.

  • Luisito Mercado

    If BlinkFeed is anything like the Pulse app, you can be sure I’ll give it plenty of use!

    • JakeS41

      i LOVE Pulse and I might agree with you here. Depending on what the “1400 new sources” are and how it pulls content together with social media (which I don’t think I want on a home screen) – This could be extremely cool. It could also be a bomb. Regardless, it wouldn’t change my decision one way or another that this is my next phone.

    • Marsg

      i use Flipboard a lot so I welcome it as well.

    • Knobskin

      Pulse is GREAT! better than Flipboard imo

  • Isaiah

    I can’t wait to see how well the blink feed works. I right now have a windows phone running 7.8 and I love the live tiles. I they work and update very well if blink feed is anything like live tiles it should be good

  • Justin

    So we still don’t have a transparent answer to the question “can BlinkFeed be completely removed.” From the dancing around the subject HTC is doing, my guess would be no… with the addendum that you could simply ignore it if you so choose. (but it will still eat into system resources and take up a screen)

    From a software perspective, BlinkFeed is HTC’s biggest differentiator at this point in terms of both looks and functionality and it’s understandable to make it a staple of their handset experience. However, as someone who enjoys minimalist simplicity and would rather see my feeds one by one rather than a shuffled/semi-randomized experience, I must admit that it’s a major turnoff.

    • http://twitter.com/MattLaney_ Matt Laney

      You can always change your launcher.

      • ryan rochford

        “system resources” ….LMFAO

        why the hell are people worried about (what is basically) a widget eating system resources… with a snapdragon 600 and 2GB of ram, i doubt it wll “slow the phone down” any. If your consumed about data, im sure there will be a “manual refresh only” option.

        This is no more of a bother than any other stock launchers from the likes of LG/Samsung/Motorola.

        If the idea of this really turns you off that much, your in the major minority of the total users HTC is targeting. Buy a Nexus…

        • louched1

          Why are people worried about a widget eating system resources?

          Battery life.

          • Justin

            Battery life is always a concern for a device like this, true. For me personally, however, I can probably think of two circumstances in the past two years where I had completely drained the battery on my phone. For as long as I’ve had a cellphone (a decade now, I’d have to guess) I’ve had chargers readily accessible.

          • John Wentworth

            I agree to a point, but it does depend how how heavy your usage is and what phone you buy, while I don’t mind charging up my phone for awhile when I’m driving after work, I don’t want to be constantly doing it during the day.
            Some smartphones won’t even make it to 6pm with heavy usage.

        • Justin

          Ryan, we’re discussing HTC. Placing style before performance has always been a pillar of their UI design and BlinkFeed is possibly the most visually taxing element they’ve ever added to Sense. (depending on how, exactly, it’s handled)

          I’m also of the opinion that a manufacturer UI can ADD to the vanilla Android experience and am by no means a purist. For example, as surprising as it is to admit I’m truly impressed by the functionality that LG is bringing with its UI. Their memo integration and Q-Slide are features that I would actually use every day and the stock experience is (fairly) highly customizable. The Optimus G, in my testing, had presented no lag when running simulations that extended beyond my “typical use” and this is despite not having the forthcoming processors nor Jelly Bean. Really, I’m impressed by everything but the build quality. (feels great, but have reservations about a glass backplate)

      • Justin

        True. I use GO Launcher EX on my current device and love how much I can visually strip away from the stock experience. Still — and please correct me if I’m wrong — the stock UI runs in the background and one would have to believe that BlinkFeed is one of the heavier elements of Sense. I realize that the One is not completely finalized/optimized at this point, but demonstration videos have shown that stutter/lag is indeed still a part of the build presented making resources presently a concern. That, and I do find the rest of Sense 5.0′s “flattened” appearance to be appealing. In addition, apart from my HP Touchpad I don’t wish to dabble in custom ROMs/etc. and will only root my next cellphone for debloating purposes.

        • John Wentworth

          Yes the stock launcher remains running in the background. It’s one of the reasons I never liked replacing my launcher on a device that wasn’t running vanilla Android, it always seemed to cause at least some noticeable lag especially over HTC’s Sense UI which has always been very resource intensive.

          If I want to use a different launcher, I normally load up a vanilla custom rom, or at least a very stripped down custom rom and then load my custom launcher.

  • DavidVarghese

    I think Blinkfeed would be a useful widget.. not too sure if it would be a good default home replacement though

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      It kind of IS a widget, just a full screen one. Only problem is, it always occupies a spot and of course, some people would like the option of having 1 more blank homescreen for shortcuts and other widgets.

  • Unorthodox

    Another battery hog.

    • camelsnot

      says the guy who hadn’t used it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.frazieriii Joe Frazier III

    My question is how long before Microsoft sues or even flipboard? It’s incredibly similar.

    • John Wentworth

      Have you used a windows phone? while the interface may be dominated by Squares I think the comparison ends there. The features on blinkfeed aren’t apps like Windows Phone Activate tiles, and the courts in general have shown that they aren’t receptive to lawsuits based on appearances.

    • camelsnot

      tiled interfaces have been around for some time.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.frazieriii Joe Frazier III

        So have rectangular devices with rounded corners?

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5OT7V6QFBWBYH35WBE6VGTLBBY nuffinn

      Did MS sue Flipboard? If not….I think HTC will be fine. If MS does sue…..HTC can use Flipboard in their defense.

      I’m not a lawyer tho.

  • davedsone

    This was the thing that was going to keep me from buying this phone. Just wasn’t something I wanted to be trapped in.

  • domatau

    if it means a hit on battery life, i will for sure disable it right after setting up the phone

    • Leigh

      you can set it to be on manual refresh only if that’s a concern. then it won’t pull any new data unless you tell it to.

  • John Wentworth

    I think blinkfeed could be very useful, but I’d rather it not be my primary home-screen.

    • Bart Heuts

      True, I’d rather swipe one screen to the left to move to blinkfeed, instead of the other way around. So as long the weather clock can be my default screen, I’ll be happy.

      • Aluminum54

        You can change the home screen and I have it set up exactly how you said. One swipe left to get to blink, and the “classic” flipclock is still available – I would miss it way too much!

  • Tony Lai

    I like the freedom of being able to turn BlinkFeed on and off selectively. Great Job hTC!

  • Tony Lai

    Sense is what defines hTC. If you don’t like Sense, dont buy a hTC or learn how to flash a custom/vanilla rom, period.

    • John Wentworth

      Agreed, I used to like HTC for their hardware and I normally used custom roms because I wasn’t in love with Sense. But now unlocking the bootloader can be a pain on newer devices, I myself did the wire trick to unlock my old Rezound after that I didn’t want to go back to HTC, I still love their hardware and their software while it’s not always my cup of tea is very innovative. I just gravitate towards nexus and samsung phones which are much more custom rom friendly.

      But I suggest HTC to many novice to casual users, I think Sense is generally very intuitive.

      • camelsnot

        didn’t need a wire trick for rezound. Wasn’t hard to unlock. Cyanogen w/Android 4.2.1 runs great on rezound.

  • Knobskin

    Battery life will determine if I go after this phone!

  • No_Nickname90

    I welcome it. As long as I can disable it too. Seeing as I can, then I welcome it. I use Google Now. LoL!! And this is why wii have a lot of RAM. LoL!!

  • Aluminum54

    Using The One now – Blink Feed + 1 extra screen and I have everything I need. The fact you can customize your App drawer now makes it almost unnecessary to have any extra screens – I think everyone should give it a try. I wasn’t a fan of Flipboard, but I like the sources BlinkFeed pulls from.

  • Rampage1

    I think blink feed is a very cool feature I use flipboard alot. I can’t wait to get this phone. With 32 or 64gb and an awesome design and camera . I havnt been excited for a phone in a while.

  • EasyEEE

    Love HTC and love Sense. Vanilla is fine on my Nexus 7. But for me, Sense improves my communication device.

    I wish I was eligible to upgrade to the One from my EVO LTE.

  • ZUZY

    i love ZOE idea … and BlinkFeed for my photo is perfect … Harry Potter newspaper like ^^

  • http://twitter.com/DanSebR Daniel Sebastian

    As much as I love HTC, I can’t see this BlinkFeed as a good thing. Even if it didn’t impact your battery life to constantly fetch info from different sites, all I see is a very disruptive overload of useless information that distracts you when you quickly want to use your device for something else, and when I say useless I mean it, random posts form FB/Twitter and the rest all put together are pretty much meaningless.
    Yes you can turn it off but most people don’t mess around with settings, it is making the device more distractive than productive.

  • Robabobbob

    After seeing it, “Can you disable it” was my first question. I’m very pleased you can.