We've just received word from HTC that it'll be releasing what it's billing as an "early access preview" of its Android 4.0 upgrades for the Sensation and Sensation XE handsets in Europe. The company says that it hopes users will "play with it and enjoy getting used to the ICS experience with Sense," which implies that there'll be changes to HTC's skin in this build — something we've been expecting for quite some time anyway. You won't just be able to download the build at will — HTC will initially only be offering it to members of its Elevate beta program — and T-Mobile subscribers using the Sensation 4G won't be included. That's a shame, but there's a silver lining: the company says that it'll be doing similar previews for other phones in its portfolio in the future. Meanwhile, look for the Sensation and Sensation XE builds to roll out to selected individuals "in the coming days."

HTC's move is likely in response to a groundswell of interest for Android OEMs to be more upfront about their upgrade plans; we've already seen Sony do something similar for several of its models (albeit on a wider scale). Motorola, meanwhile, is being honest about its laggy ICS upgrade schedule — but so far, no public previews.