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HTC Sensation's Sense 3.0 skin adds whizzy 3D effects, funky lock screen

HTC's Sense 3.0 skin for Android adds 3D effects to the widgets on the Sensation, as well as a lock screen that you can customise every which way from Sunday.

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The HTC Sensation will usher in the third version of the company's Sense user interface, which will sit on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Sense is one of the few customised versions of Android that we like as much as the pure, untouched version of the operating system, seen on phones such as the Google Nexus S. HTC's skin is bold, colourful and glossy, giving Android a more playful appearance. 

Sense also adds some handy features to Android, such as the ability to see your contacts' Facebook and Twitter updates right from your address book. Several of these features will receive an update in Sense 3.0. For example, the email inbox will add a two-line preview of each message.

Thanks to the Sensation's powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor, HTC has been able to ramp up Sense's graphics, too. Sense 3.0 adds new transitions when you swipe between home screens, for example, so the screens appear to rotate around a carousel.

Click the photo gallery above to join us as we sniff, prod and ogle Sense 3.0. Be sure to lick the screen for the full effect. 

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HTC has always been a dab hand at whipping up a pretty widget. The latest version of Sense offers a new film store widget.
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The weather widget, although somewhat pointless unless you work in a windowless bunker, has received a refresh, too. Now there are sounds, as well as lush animations, when the weather changes.
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Widgets have also acquired depth in Sense 3.0. When you swipe between home screens, the widgets appear to rotate away from you, revealing layers. For example, in this image of the music widget, check out how the album art appears to hover above the rest of the widget.
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You can now scroll through all seven home screens in a loop, rather than hitting the limit on one side and having to swipe all the way back to the beginning. If you get lost, pinch the screen to zoom out and see all the home screens at once.
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The menu in Sense 3.0 can be filtered by favourites or downloaded apps.
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Sense 3.0 will launch on the HTC Sensation, which will run Android 2.3. It's the same version of Android as on other HTC phones, such as the Desire HD. But HTC says that Sense 3.0 may not come to those phones, because they don't have dual-core processors like the Sensation's.
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The grooviest new feature of Sense 3.0 is the lock screen. You can choose four app shortcuts to sit along the bottom of the screen, so that they can be launched instantly by dragging them into the circle.
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As well as app shortcuts, the lock screen can also display the weather.
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Another option for the lock screen is stock quotes.
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The lock screen can display animated Facebook updates about Jill and Carlos' helicopter rescue. Hold on -- what?

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