Sprint released a firmware update to Android 2.1, code-named ??Â½clair, to HTC Hero owners May 19. Before updating the Google OS, however, users will want to back up the device, following instructions on Sprint's support page-or else risk turning the Hero into a zero.
"Installing this software will erase your current user data. Please see instructions below for details," the Sprint site warned, before continuing:
""You will lose contacts that have not been synced to an email account, text messages that have not been forwarded, saved voicemail messages older than 5 days, voicemails older than 20 days that have not been listened to and call history. The calendar and email settings will also revert back to factory defaults. Pictures, music, videos and files are stored on your MicroSD memory card, which should be removed before updating your phone.""
To avoid data erasure, Sprint offers detailed steps for backing up data, including saving text messages by forwarding them to an e-mail address.
Installed applications downloaded from the Android market will also have to be reinstalled, and while a list of purchased applications will appear in a list, users will want to jot down the names of any free applications they've downloaded, "as they will have to be searched for again and downloaded manually after the update," says Sprint.
Additionally, before performing the download, users are instructed to make sure the Hero is fully charged; that the USB data cable that came with the smartphone is handy; that all applications on the computer being used for the download are in disabled, standby or hibernation modes; and that HTC Sync is installed on the computer.
All of which is a pretty strong endorsement for over-the-air updates.
On the upside, the benefits of Android 2.1 include enhancements to the HTC Sense user interface, including a feature that streams together feeds from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. There's also enhanced support for corporate e-mail, and there are fixes for a variety of minor bugs.
Music, photos and other data stored on the MicroSD memory card-which, again, should be removed before updating the operating system-shouldn't be affected when popped back in, and, according to InformationWeek, signing into Google should bring back all of the device's lost contacts.
Sprint launched the HTC Hero, its first device to run Google's Android, in October 2009. The Samsung Moment, also running Android, came shortly behind the Hero on Nov. 1.