Cellular South to launch Android-based HTC Hero

Regional carrier Cellular South provided details behind its Android plans, making the carrier the third U.S. operator (and the first regional operator) to support Google's smartphone platform. Following in the footsteps of fellow Android supporters Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, Cellular South will launch the HTC Hero. Customers can pre-order it beginning Oct. 5.

Cellular South in July said it would offer an Android device by the end of the year, but at the time did not provide further details.

Earlier this month Sprint said that it would introduce the HTC Hero Oct. 11. Sprint and Cellular South's backing of the HTC-made Android device is a coup for the Taiwanese handset maker, which manufactured T-Mobile's first two Android phones, the G1 and the myTouch 3G.

HTC first unveiled the Hero in June, and the phone is the most customized HTC Android phone to date. The key differentiator is HTC's Sense UI, which sports several features 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 also will allow users to have customizable, push-based widgets such as weather, Twitter and email.

The Hero has a 3.2-inch HVGA display, GPS, a digital compass, gravity sensor, 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, WiFi capabilities, a 5-megapixel, auto-focus camera and expandable microSD memory. The Hero also has a dedicated search button that allows users to search contacts, emails or other areas on the phone.

For more:
- see this press release
- see this video
- see these photos

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