Modders are already working to add HTC Sense on the Nexus One thanks to the HTC Desire ROM. It also adds Flash 10.1 and better camera features. I’m holding off, but I did add the HTC keyboard to my handset. Here’s how to do it.


I’ve been waiting to see how much “hackery” would ensue on the Google Nexus One and today I got an eyeful. Yup, efforts are underway to get the HTC Sense UI on the Nexus One. Paul O’Brien, the mastermind at Modaco, is making good headway using a ROM built for the HTC Desire. That makes “sense”, since the Desire is a slightly evolved Nexus One. While I never expected to put a non-carrier ROM on my handset, I may just make an exception for this one. Aside from HTC Sense, there’s some other desirable goodies in the build:

  • 800 x 480 video recording, which is a slight boost over the native 720 x 480
  • Face recognition and touch focus for the camera
  • Adobe Flash 10.1

To be honest, I can live without Flash — I have for years, so obviously, I can continue to do so. But I’ve found that it’s a nice to have feature on the evaluation Nokia N900 every now and again for watching video. YouTube vids are generally a non-issue these days, but other players require Flash support. Our own site videos fall into that category — although we were just chatting internally about future video and support for handhelds today: stay tuned.

The Sense UI itself is really what I’m interested in, and that’s mainly because I’ve never used it for more than a few minutes. I’d like to run with it for a week or so, just to see if it’s a “must have” for the way I use my handset. For now, I’m in a wait-and-see mode while Paul continues to work his magic.

However, I did grab a little bit of sense today: I added the HTC Sense keyboard to my Nexus One. It was actually a pretty simple process as outlined at XDA-Developers. I downloaded two .APK files, unzipped them to the SD card on my Nexus One and installed them. As far as installation goes, you can always use the ADB utility in the Android SDK, but I found what might be a faster, easier way. Just search the Android Market for AppsInstaller, which is a free utility and install it. AppsInstaller scans your SD card and allows you to install any applications on the card. The process took me under five minutes and I’m now typing far faster. The keyboard comes with a touch calibration utility, which I ran through one time and the keyboard experience is much more like the iPhone, which worked well for me.I’m already finding it faster than the native Android keyboard and even faster than Swype. And there’s still a dedicated key for voice-to-text input, so it’s a win all around.


Images courtesy of DroidDog

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One

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  1. the HTC Sense keyboard does rock, but doesn’t work on Moto Droid yet.. just an FYI for Droid users

  2. Is it the v2 or the v4?

    1. For the Nexus One, you want the high res edition, which is at v.2.

  3. i try downloading on my n1(high resolution) and it won’t let me download..the msg says cannot download, content is not supported on this phone(N1)…what am i missing!!!…help

    1. Don’t download the files on the N1. They’re ZIP files, so you want to download them to a computer and unzip them. Then copy those over to your SD card — I USB mounted my phone for that. At that point, you can install the APK files.

  4. Is there any glitches that come with switching to Sense? What are the pros and cons to changing it? Will you miss anything from Google Nexus One’s initial features? How does Sense beat the Nexus’ initial features?

  5. @kevin thanks…it works…!!!

  6. Looks like they just posted a version 3 (bug fixes) of the hi-res app.

  7. Try it out! You can always go back to stock, and I want to know what you think about HTC’s Android Sense, being a Sense WM man myself.

    (By the way, developments like this are why I’m ditching WM and coming to Android. I want to be on a fresh, continuously updating platform that is hackable. WP7 clearly won’t cut it.)

  8. You should try SlideIT keyboard, it’s now on the market


  9. is this article about the desire or nexus one cuz i am confused

    1. It’s about using the Desire’s keyboard on the Nexus One.

  10. if i switch to the sense ui will i still be able to use the nexus voice-to-text feature?

    1. I expect you would. I have the HTC keyboard installed on my Nexus One and I can use the voice-to-text feature. AFAIK, it’s not a feature specific to the Nexus One, but part of Android 2.1.

      1. aight cool thanks for answering

  11. does the N1 needs to be rooted to get this done?

  12. Tks anyways but I figure it out!!! it is awesome….. now lets just wait for the sense

  13. AppsInstaller won’t work on my Nexus One. It has to force close whenever I try to start it.

  14. sean biganski Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Nice pun.

  15. Hi, I’m an adroid N1 user and a newbie to this thing….Can someone tell me how do i switch to sense in a more generic step-by-step instruction?

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