There is no question that Sense 4 is something HTC took very seriously as it redesigned the feature set from earlier versions. Love it or hate it, HTC stands behind Sense and its power as an Android overlay. The man responsible for it all, HTC’s AVP of Sense Drew Bamford talked with Laptop Magazine as Bamford essentially said stock Android 4.0 just isn’t good enough.
What we were trying to do with Sense was thoughtfully reduce it to what we feel is its essence. It had become a little bit overwrought – a little heavy. And that was a lot of the feedback we got from the market and reviewers like yourself. So we started by saying, ‘What can we take out of Sense but still maintain its essential character?’
Bamford doesn’t deny earlier versions of Sense were too heavy, even for HTC’s own tastes. As for the reasons why HTC stands behind Sense, Bamford gave what I would accept as the most obvious of reasons about why Android overlays exist in the first place:
Fundamentally, I would say what HTC is trying to do is to create a unique, branded HTC experience on a phone, because our goal is that you walk into a store, whether it’s a carrier store or an independent retailer, and you say ‘I want an HTC.’ You don’t say, ‘I want an Android phone, which one should I get?’ We’re trying to create that continuity of experience and that bridge of an identifiable HTC experience across our products, whether it’s a phone or some other product. If we just adopt ICS as it is, we can’t get that advantage, and it just doesn’t work for us as a business to do that.
It’s a fairly lengthy interview and offers some great insight into Sense and HTC design, a worthy read for certain.