HTC One: What is Blink Feed?

Features Paul Briden 16:35, 19 Feb 2013

We take a look at what HTC has introduced with Blink Feed, a new feature of the Sense 5 UI on the HTC One

With its announcement of the HTC One and its new Sense 5 interface we’ve seen the introduction of a new feature: Blink Feed. But, what exactly is Blink Feed?

In Sense 5 the HTC One starts out with just two homescreens by default, though you can add more if you wish. One of these is your regular Android homescreen where you can add apps, widgets, folders and shortcuts.

The other is the Blink Feed and this is the main screen you’ll see every time you unlock your handset.

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Speaking about the HTC One and Blink Feed at HTC’s launch event, company chief executive Peter Chou said:

‘People today immerse themselves in a constant stream of updates, news and information. Although smartphones are one of the main ways we stay in touch with the people and information we care about, conventional designs have failed to keep pace with how people are actually using them.’

‘A new, exciting approach to the smartphone is needed and with the new HTC One, we have re-imagined the mobile experience from the ground up to reflect this new reality,’ he added.

Blink Feed is essentially a content feed and aggregation suite designed to present you with information relevant to you at a glance with an emphasis on news, imaging and social networking.

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HTC describes it as a ‘personal live stream straight to the homescreen.’ You’ll find pre-defined news feeds (similar to an RSS reader) using ‘more than 1,400 media sources’, Facebook updates, Twitter and gallery content, including stuff from the new HTC Zoe camera feature.

Some of the image content will be very context specific based on your location and the date. For example, if you’re in (or near) a location where you took a photo a year ago, Blink Feed will bring up the photo you took previously as a sort of reminder.

Blink Feed will include a highlights section where full articles and updates are downloaded for you to see at a glance, but the rest of the content will only show a headline and an image which you need to open to access the full article. Tapping on content will take you into the relevant app.

On a 3G or 4G data connection Blink Feed will update every couple of hours, but when a Wi-Fi connection is available it’ll be updated more frequently. The information is presented as a series of tiles, in a manner not too dissimilar to Windows Phone’s interface.

Along with the rest of Sense 5, Blink Feed is optimised to the HTC One’s 4.7-inch 468ppi SLCD3 display and is all the more impressive to behold as a result.

While Blink Feed might not be quite as in-depth or comprehensive as similar aggregation suites on rival platforms it’s not exactly trying to be.

HTC has invested plenty of effort in discovering what the average user actually uses their phone for the majority of the time and has focused Blink Feed accordingly on these aspects – things like weather reports, news and social networking.

It’s a similar approach to Google Now, but with a tighter focus and HTC’s own twist on things in making it ever-present, digestible at a glance and the main thing you see when you activate the phone. 

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