If you were paying attention during HTC's keynote earlier this morning, you'll have noted Peter Chou dropped a big old promise on us all: no more waiting for maps to load when zooming or scrolling. Pre-cached maps are one of the headline new features in the upgraded Sense that accompanies the Desire HD and Desire Z's announcement today, so we naturally had to go have a peek for ourselves. Requiring no internet connection, the Desire HD on hand sauntered through the streets of Sao Paulo and it was true that there were none of the aggravating grey squares of doom that we've grown used to when panning around. What isn't true, however, is HTC's claim that there's no waiting to be done. Responsiveness on these maps is far from perfect and patience will still need to be exercised. Notably, HTC said that you'll be able to download city maps free of charge, but navigation and other additional services will cost you. A final note is merited for the use of the phone's digital compass to rotate the map with you -- so that the map adjusts itself to whatever direction you point the phone. A very classy little inclusion.
Eric Lin was on hand to answer the question of when this new Sense might trickle down to the classic Desire or other handsets in HTC's portfolio. Well, his answer was a non-answer: no roadmap or schedule has been set and HTC isn't ruling anything out just yet.