HTC wants Android users with third-party devices to enjoy its own Sense Home 8 launcher. The company has begun inviting a select few to beta test the interface on devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and above ahead of its public debut.
Android device makers very rarely make their own apps and services available to third-party devices. Most consider their software to be a selling point, and they want consumers to buy their hardware to get their hands on it.
Now HTC is taking a different approach. The Taiwanese company has already made many of its apps available to download from Google Play on HTC devices, and now one of them is going to open up to Android smartphones from rival companies.
HTC has been contacting select Android users to invite them to test a beta version of its Sense Home 8 launcher. This is the same launcher that ships with the HTC 10, and it includes features like the Freestyle layout with stickers and themes.
It’s unclear how you gain access to this beta; there is no sign-up page that lets you register your interest. It seems the vast majority of us will have to wait until Sense Home 8 hits Google Play publicly before we can download it.
HTC is likely making this move to give consumers who have never used its devices a taste of what they’re missing. It will be hoping that the launcher gives us a thirst for more HTC software, and that we’ll consider buying an HTC handset next time.