HTC debuts third Android phone, the Hero

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC unveiled its third phone based on Google's Android platform, the Hero, at a press event in London today.

Building on the software innovations that it is pushing in the Touch Pro 2 and the Touch Diamond 2, HTC has added a new software element to the Hero, called Sense. 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 Push widgets like weather, Twitter and email.

"We've been trained to function in this application-centric way. But that's not the way we think," HTC CEO Peter Chou told the Wall Street Journal.  "Today's phones are not really designed for people," he added. Sense will be available on all new HTC devices going forward, the company said.

The phone has a 3.2-inch HVGA display, GPS, a digital compass, gravity-sensor, 3.5mm stereo headset jack, 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. The phone will be a tablet design, but will also have a "chin" at the end to make it more comfortable against a user's face.

The Hero will be available in Europe next month, and T-Mobile UK and Orange UK have said they will launch it. It will be available in Asia later this summer and a distinct North American version will be available before the end of the year. The company did not provide any pricing information.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see these pictures
- see this video of the Hero

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