HTC has released a presser basically stating they plan to release a "portfolio of Windows Phone 7 Series" later this year.

None of us have doubted HTC's commitment to Microsoft and its next-generation OS, nor are we shocked to hear that it will release multiple devices this year, so no news there. However, there is one interesting line that caught our attention:

HTC is working closely with Microsoft to bring the unique HTC experience that customers love.

So what exactly does "unique HTC experience" mean? Call us crazy (no seriously, go ahead), but that sounds like HTC will be customizing something on their Seven devices, no? 

The question of whether or not OEMs can alter the UI has yet to be answered by Microsoft. It seems that the end-user (and developers) will indeed be limited on what they can alter (translation: no Today Screen plugins), but it is unclear what OEMs and operators are limited to doing.

Previously, Microsoft has recruited people to work on customizing the UI for carrier partners, and we all  know how close HTC and Microsoft are when it comes to working on skinning. Coupled with references to "IsWindowsMobile7Device = true" in a leaked version of Sense 2.5, it doesn't seem crazy to think that HTC will still have a Sense-based Windows phone 7 layout, something we've said in the past.

Perhaps more will be revealed at MIX10?  Discuss in comments.

[HTC Press Release]