The third Android-based smartphone has officially landed and the device, called Hero, is also from HTC but according to many observers, is prettier than the previous versions.
Hero still keeps the protruding Jay Leno-esque "chin" and is slightly more massive than the just announced Magic but more comfortable to use than the G1 which came with a keyboard.
HTC has used a customised user interface - known as Sense - to make Android more friendly, something that the smartphone manufacturer has been doing for ages on its popular Windows Mobile platforms.
Under its hood, the HTC Hero packs a Qualcomm MSM 7200A processing clocked at 528MHz, 512MB ROM and 288MB RAM, a microSD card reader - but no bundled card - a 3.2-inch LCD screen capable of displaying 480x320 pixels, the same as the iPhone, HSDPA connectivity, a 5-megapixel with autofocus, WiFi, GPS, digital compass and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The phone also comes with multi-touch functionality and anti-fingerprint plus Teflon coating - whether it is as effective as the iPhones's remain to be seen. The Hero unfortunately still stays away from a flash but it does apparently support Adobe Flash out of the box.
Expect the phone to come to Europe in July followed by Asia and North America by the end of the year and is likely to replace the ageing HTC Dream, the first Android phone which is started to look dated.
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The HTC Hero will definitely attract attention. Whether it will sell as well as the iPhone or the Samsung Jet will depend on the price. The Magic is currently available from Vodafone for a tad under £25 on a 2 year contract. The Hero is likely to be priced in the same range although it offers better features. Competition is building up rapidly and ironically, early favourites like the Magic could well be obsolete within months.
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