HTC Hero official – Sense UI, multi-touch zooming, and Flash support

June 24, 2009
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    HTC Hero

    HTC Hero

    This text is taken from my piece on the MobileBurn.com website.  A full photo gallery that includes 4 live photos from MobileBurn’s Russ Jefferies is available at the end of the post.

    Today HTC launched its third Android powered smartphone, the HTC Hero. The HTC Hero makes use of the new HTC Sense user interface, which makes the Hero the first Android device on the market to sport a custom user interface. For those that follow Android more closely, HTC Sense will be recognized as the “Rosie” user interface that was leaked through some Hero ROMs a few weeks back.

    I had the chance to see HTC Sense in action on an HTC Hero a few weeks ago, and I can vouch for the quality of the HTC enhancements to Android. Not only does HTC provide a wide assortment of new home screen widgets, but the company also has included a new “Scenes” mode that lets users define multiple layouts to be used, such as one for work, and one for play. The system is somewhat similar to the mode switching found on some recent Nokia S60 smartphones.

    Other new features include integration with Facebook and Flickr, including linking your contacts with their own Facebook and Flickr feeds, so you can not only see their contact info in the contacts app, but also quickly view their Facebook updates and recent Flickr photos. Other tweaks have been made to the phone dialer, including T9 contact searching, and to the web browser. The web browser tweaks include multi-touch zooming control, a new bookmark manager, and Adobe Flash based video support.

    In terms of specs, the Hero features a 3.2-inch 320 x 480 (Half-VGA) {capacitive touchscreen} display, just like the Magic and G1, but also includes a special anti-fingerprint coating. Unlike the older devices, however, the Hero receives a new 5 megapixel camera and an actual 3.5mm headphone port – no more headphone adapters required. Other features of note include ~aGPS, a built-in digital compass for helping with Google Maps, and a new search button.

    The search button brings up results from a new, more powerful search system that looks not only in the phone’s emails, contacts, and other built-in data like you would expect, but also searches Twitter (and, presumably, Google).

    The Hero is expected to go on sale across Europe in July, and in Asia later in the summer. HTC has promised that a dedicated North American version will be available later in 2009. The white version of the device actually includes teflon in order to make the paint not only soft, but durable. No pricing has been announced at this time, but T-Mobile and Orange in Europe are the first networks expected to offer the phone.

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