Our recent chance encounter with a multitouch-friendly iteration of HTC's Sense UI turns out to have been a preview of the company's latest version of the software. Announcing that it has "enhanced" the already quite delectable skin, HTC has noted it'll be available preloaded on the brand new Desire and Legend handsets, and as a free download for the venerable Hero. So what's new? The press event this morning told us about Leap, the new pinching function that allows you to view all your home screens at once (see above), and Friend Stream, which aims to be your social media aggregator du jour with its one stream combining Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates. There's also a new newsreader application and widget, along with additional improvements to the browser and web client. You'll find the full PR after the break and early impressions of the new interface in our hands-on with the new phones.

Update: See a full walkthrough of the new UI in a video after the break.


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HTC UNVEILS ENHANCED HTC SENSE EXPERIENCE ON NEW ANDROID SMARTPHONES

HTC Legend and HTC Desire take Android 2.1 to a new level with HTC Sense

BARCELONA, Mobile World Congress – February 16, 2010 – HTC Corporation, a global designer of smartphones, today introduced an enhanced HTC Sense experience that will be available on two new smartphones that take Android to the next level, the HTC Legend and HTC Desire.

"At its essence, the mobile phone is the most personal item you have in your possession. HTC Sense was created to magnify your ability to create and define your own unique mobile experience," said Peter Chou, chief executive officer of HTC Corporation. "HTC Legend and HTC Desire take Android to another level in both substance with HTC Sense and style with HTC Legend's revolutionary crafted aluminum uni-body design."

HTC SENSE
HTC Sense is a user experience focused on putting people at the centre by making phones work in a more simple and natural way. This experience revolves around three fundamental principles that were developed by observing and listening to how people live and communicate. These core tenets of Make It Mine, Stay Close and Discover the Unexpected continue to be the key to the new HTC Sense experience.

The new HTC Sense experience continues to focus on improving your interactions with your most important people. This begins with a new HTC application and widget called HTC Friend Stream that seamlessly aggregates all of your social communication including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into one organised flow of updates. This simple aggregation makes it easier than ever to focus on what friends are doing as well as to view the images and links that they share. In addition to Friend Stream, people can be organised into specific social circles, such as groups of friends, colleagues or any other way that makes sense.

The new HTC Sense experience also introduces broad improvements to applications including the browser, email client and others. In addition, the new version of HTC Sense includes a new newsreader application and widget, as well as a new seven-screen 'Leap' thumbnail view for quick and easy access to specific screens.

HTC Legend
Built around a newly enhanced HTC Sense, the HTC Legend boasts a unique design with a smooth, continuous surface, machined from a single aluminum block into a seamless compact frame. To complement its looks, the HTC Legend includes a stunning 3.2 inch, AMOLED HVGA display. The traditional trackball has also been replaced with an optical joystick, surrounded by a narrow button to improve usability without interrupting its unique design.

HTC Desire
HTC Desire is the richest way to visually experience news, friends, photos, favourite places and whatever else is important on a mobile phone. With one of the most advanced displays available on a phone today, HTC Desire is designed with a large 3.7 inch AMOLED WVGA display to enhance and maximise content, whether it is pictures and videos, browsing the Web or checking on friends' status updates. HTC Desire is powered by a one gigahertz Snapdragon processor and is Adobeâ Flashâ 10.1 ready. As with the HTC Legend, the HTC Desire also includes an optical joystick.

Patrick Chomet, Group Director of Terminals for Vodafone said, "HTC is a valued partner for Vodafone and has made a strong contribution to the growth of the mass market appeal of smartphones. Vodafone endeavours to offer our customers the widest and most compelling choice of smartphones and to that end the HTC Legend, the HTC Desire and the HTC HD Mini will be ranged in selected Vodafone markets across our footprint. I'm particularly pleased that through our collaboration with HTC, Vodafone customers will experience a differentiated experience on the HTC Legend which will come customised for them with pre-loaded Vodafone 360 Internet services."

Availability
The new HTC Legend will be available in Europe through Vodafone and in the direct channel beginning in April. It will roll out to other parts of the world including Asia in early Q2. HTC Desire will be broadly available to customers across major European and Asian markets in early Q2. The HTC Desire will be exclusively available in Australia through Telstra. The enhanced HTC Sense experience will also be offered as a free upgrade on the HTC Hero in Europe and Asia.

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HTC enhances Sense with Leap and Friend Stream (updated with video)