HTC: We won't add 'complete' Sense UI to WP7

HTC will not offer its Sense user interface on its first batch of Windows Phone 7-powered devices, according to the company's frontman.

In an exclusive interview with FierceWireless, HTC CEO Peter Chou said the smartphone vendor initially will be unable to bring its Sense UI onto its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 devices.

"Initially, we don't have time to bring things on top of that," he said. "But over time we will innovate on top of that to provide some HTC experience."

When asked whether Taiwan-based HTC would at some point in the future introduce its Sense UI onto WP7, Chou hedged.

"I don't think we would do complete Sense UI on Windows Phone 7," he said. "However, I will say that we will innovate differently to improve the experience and to get some HTC unique and differentiated experience on Windows Phone 7 in the future."

An HTC spokesman offered some clarification: "In the long term, with the Sense experience, we are looking for ways to enhance the user experience using HTC innovation. ... Sense, by definition, is a way for HTC to improve the user experience in both big and small ways--which we will certainly work to do with Windows Phone 7 devices. But, if this does not include a fully revised user interface, that does not mean that it doesn't have a form of the Sense experience--it may just be expressed in ways that do not include the interface."

The news is notable considering HTC has made its Sense user interface overlay a cornerstone of its Android strategy. Sense UI is essentially an extra layer of software built on top of Google's Android platform that HTC uses to separate itself from a growing number of Android device vendors. The company recently introduced a services component to the offering via its as-yet-unreleased website.

That HTC may not bring its Sense UI onto Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform could reflect the software giant's relatively strict design guidelines. Google offers Android for free and allows licensees to modify the platform at will; meanwhile, Microsoft charges a licensing fee for Windows Phone 7 and the company's guidelines prevent vendors from making extensive modifications.

HTC did port its Sense UI onto its HD2 phone, which runs Microsoft's now-retired Windows Mobile platform.

Devices running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform--an effort by the Redmond, Wash.-based company to rekindle its position in mobile--are scheduled to be released later this year. HTC was the world's eighth largest handset maker in the second quarter, according to Gartner, commanding 1.8 percent of the market.

Interestingly, HTC's Chou also said the company will release an LTE phone next year. Click here for the full story.

FierceWireless will publish a full transcript of its interview with Chou on Monday.

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