HTC Hero – A guide to Android

htc heroHTC Hero
Announced: June 24, 2009. Sprint will launch it Oct. 11, 2009.
Carrier: Sprint Nextel
Vendor: HTC
Price: $179.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Pros: It's got Sense, HTC's distinct Android user interface. The software does several things, including putting a contact's photo alongside their text messages, emails and call history in a single view. Similar to the Push Internet feature that HTC unveiled at Mobile World Congress, Sense will allow users to have customizable widgets like weather, Twitter and email. "You could say that this is Android done right, or that HTC finished Android," Greengart said.

"The Hero was really HTC's opportunity to show what it could do, given some time, to customize and develop its customizations of the operating system, and make an experience that was competitive with the polish that it had created with Windows Mobile," Rubin said.

Cons: Jackson said that, from a touchscreen perspective, the device is still not competitive with the iPhone. Bajarin said the form factor is still a little clunky.

Impact: "It fulfills HTC's promise of creating an experience rather just a product," Jackson said. "It does sort of have that transcendent quality. It's intuitive and you don't have to root around for a lot of the stuff that tends to get buried." The phone also is Sprint's first Android phone, and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in July that he thought the carrier was now ready to embrace Android. "We didn't want to launch a new platform with its brand before it was really ready for primetime," he said. "We thought a year ago it was premature, and we don't any more."

HTC Hero – A guide to Android