Earlier Android devices lacked some pretty important features, and HTC is looking to make up for it by incorporating them into the Hero. Some of the highlights of this device are:
- First Android handset with Adobe Flash out of the box:
The Hero is, according to HTC, "the first Android phone to ship with support for Adobe® Flash® Platform technology". What this means is that you can finally view most flash based content, such as streaming media, without the need for third-party applications.
According to David Wadhwani, vice president and general manager, Platform Business Unit at Adobe, "the new HTC Hero represents a key milestone for Android and the Flash Platform. With close to 80 percent of all videos online delivered with Adobe Flash technology, consumers want to access rich Web content on-the-go."
Head here, for a demo of Flash on the HTC Hero.
- New user interface, the Sense UI:
HTC is known for employing their fantastic TouchFLO interface on Windows Mobile smartphones, such as the HTC Touch and Touch Pro, to make Windows Mobile much more intuitive. Useful applications and rich animations are also thrown in to make the interface more appealing to the user.
Although the Android OS is pretty intuitive on its own, HTC decided to try its hand at recreating the TouchFLO interface on it. They call this new interface the 'Sense UI' and features many of the popular widgets, applications and rich animations found on the TouchFLO interface.
For those currently using the Dream or Magic, HTC says that they will make the Sense UI available to them soon.
- Capacitive touch screen that supports multi-touch:
This is something that users have been clamouring for on the HTC Dream and Magic. Android can handle multi-touch, but the feature is disabled due to the risk of infringing Apple's patents. Since the Android OS used in the Hero is heavily modified by HTC, and due to the nature of these modifications, the device does not come with a "with Google" tag found on the HTC Dream and Magic.
- Teflon coating and oleophobic screen:
The HTC Hero features a Teflon coating on its white coloured model and a oleophobic screen. These coatings help combat one of the more serious problems handset users (both touch and non-touch devices) face, finger print smudges. The oleophobic coating on the screen used on the Hero is more or less similar the one being used on the recently announced iPhone 3G S. In fact, Gizmodo thinks that the quality of the materials used on the Hero might have surpassed those used on the iPhone.
- 3.5 mm audio jack and a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus:
The 3.5 mm audio jack is one of those features which many feel should have been included in earlier handsets, but weren't. But it is better late than never as HTC finally incorporates the standard headset jack on the Hero, allowing you to utilise your own pair of headphones without using an adapter or a proprietary pair of headphones. The camera specs have also been bumped, with the new Hero rocking a 5 MP camera.
- HSPDA with up to 2 Mbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds
- Quad band
- 3.2 inch, 320X480 resolution screen
- External USB port
- GPS with digital compass
- SD Card slot
As for pricing, interested parties can get the device for for free with a contract from T-Mobile UK. However, there is no word as to which mobile operator will carry the device in the United States.
The HTC Hero will face some competition from Samsung's I7500 Android handset.
Update: According to rumors, HTC Dream and Magic users may not be able to get into the Sense UI action after all, due to some licensing issues.