First look at HTC Sense Home beta launcher for non-HTC devices [VIDEO]


HTC has started beta testing its HTC Sense Home 8 launcher for non-HTC devices. While HTC has only selected a limited number of users to beta test its launcher, the APK is now circulating on a handful of sites, allowing anyone to download and install the launcher on a smartphone or tablet. Since we know that a lot of you may not be interested or simply don’t have the time to install an alternate launcher on your smartphone or tablet just to see what it has to offer, we decided to install it on one of our devices and give you a quick video walk-through.

The look of HTC Sense Home 8 beta isn’t any different than the experience offered by the HTC 10. You can throw your apps on the home screen and the customizable app drawer allows you to more your apps anywhere you want, organize them into folders and choose different grip layouts. As you’d expect, the beta build of HTC Sense 8 also included BlinkFeed, but the news and social media aggregation will not work properly until you install news Republic from the Google Play store. There’s also the option to install Yelp if you want local restaurant suggestions to show up in your feed during meal times.

Sense Home 8 beta also has the same theming engine that HTC introduced this year with the 10 featuring Classic and Freestyle Themes, wallpapers, icons packs and sounds. Classic themes allow you to change the look of the various elements in the standard homepage layout, but Freestyle Themes give you complete control of your homescreen by removing the app grid and allowing you to used custom stickers to replace the standard app icons. This means you can stack app icons on top of each other or use abstract stickers to create a homescreen layout that’s truly your own. You can also mix and match theme elements from different themes to come up with something of your own and share your create to the theme store.

HTC’s launcher appears to be stable, but it does run a bit slow when compared to HTC devices which have it pre-installed. HTC has not stated how soon Sense Home 8 for non-HTC devices will be made available to the general public, but we can’t imagine that beta testing going for more than 60 days. Once the final version rolls out, we’ll let you know if there are significant changes from what we’ve seen in the beta.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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