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HTC Hero counters iPhone with built-in Flash

updated 08:25 am EDT, Wed June 24, 2009

HTC Hero

HTC at a press event this morning launched its third-generation Android phone in less than a year. The Hero is designed as a web- and music-focused phone with a touchscreen-dependent design like the Magic but is even more compact. Its key, however, is a new interface known as Sense: like TouchFLO, it offers quicker access to calendars, contacts, the time and the weather as well as a quick launcher for the phone dialer. These are all accessible as Android-standard widgets.

A dedicated search button is also specific to the Hero and not only searches typical Android content but can also find contacts, e-mail metadata, music and even Twitter posts. Contacts themselves are also integrated with the web and meld their Facebook data with their Flickr galleries.

The Hero is also the first-ever Android phone to use Flash: an updated web browser with Flash 10 for mobile not only supports websites with typical flash animation but also YouTube and other Flash-based video websites. It also supports audio streaming and nearly replaces Android's dedicated YouTube client.

Multi-touch is new and lets users at least auto-adjust font sizes in e-mail.

The hardware itself is also much improved over even the recent Magic, including its own unique touch for durability: while it has an oleophobic (oil-resistant) screen like the iPhone 3GS, it adds a Teflon coating on the main body that resists scratching while simultaneously providing a softer, more grippable surface. A 3.5mm headphone jack finally allows use of third-party headphones without an adapter, and the camera has been upgraded to 5 megapixels while preserving autofocus.

As with other more recent Android phones, the Hero also gets 7.2Mbps 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi as well as an accelerometer, a compass and a microSDHC card slot. A reasonably fast 528MHz ARM-based processor is also key to the handset.

HTC ships the Hero to Europe in July and will sometimes be available for free on contract, such as with Orange UK. Asian countries receive the phone later in the summer. No North American plans have been made formal for the existing phone, which doesn't support US or Canadian HSPA for its 3G. However, T-Mobile USA is rumored to be getting the Hero in the fall, and a variant of the Hero dubbed the Lancaster is expected to reach AT&T with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.







By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. SlimGem

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    -1

    Teflon?

    "... it adds a Teflon coating on the main body that resists scratching while simultaneously providing a softer, more grippable surface."

    This statement sounds counterintuitive to me. Seems like that would make it slickery.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    0

    sweet

    This looks like a really nice phone. Not sure I like how it's bent like that; seems like it might hurt more when
    I knock my phone leg against something, and it seems a bit awkward to hold in landscape view. If this thing is fully hackable like their previous Android phone though, we might just have a decent iPhone alternative on our hands. Let's hear it for competition!

  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005

    -1

    Nice

    Nice one of these days I might pick up an Andriod phone to replace my BlackBerry for work. (My iPhone is my personal line.)

  1. ibugv4

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003

    0

    Teflon = no sale

    Teflon is toxic to birds. I don't buy products with teflon, and despite this looking like a nice phone, the choice of DuPont coating forces me to say no.

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