From HTC comes the Hero, a new smartphone running Google's Android operating system, as well as a new user environment called HTC Sense.
The Hero, following on the heels of the Palm Pre and Apple iPhone 3G S, appears to borrow from, and perhaps even improve upon, some of their better features.
The Hero has a very iPhone-looking 3.2-inch HVGA touch-sensitive display, but the bottom few centimeters bend upward toward the mouth-a feature that could prove useful during a phone call.
And while the iPhone 3G S has an oleophobic coating to repel fingerprints, the HTC Hero is coated with Teflon for a durable, soft surface, and features a reportedly smudge-resistant display.
Also like the iPhone, the Hero features a digital compass. Also included are GPS, a 3.5-mm stereo headset jack, a 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus and a Micro SD slot to expand beyond its included 512MB of ROM and 288MB of RAM. There's also an MP3 player and a Windows Media Audio 9 player.
The Hero's processor is a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A, and supported networks include HSPA/WCDMA 900/2100MHz and Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) 850/900/1800/1900MHz. It measures 4.41 by 2.21 by 0.57 inches, and with the battery weighs 4.76 ounces.
Much has been made of the Palm Pre's WebOS, which is said to greatly complement the way users interact with its touch-screen. To seemingly similar effect, the HTC Sense is a "blend of form and function that takes Android to new heights," HTC said in a statement.
Sense is based on three principles. The first, Make It Mine, speaks to customization-adding widgets, creating profiles and setting up user-specific functions.
The second, Stay Close, helps users manage phone calls, e-mails, texts, photos and other data. For example, a friend's Facebook status update can be viewed alongside text messages and e-mails from him or her. This is somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 3G S Spotlight feature, which can collect together related information from within all applications.
And finally there is the far less tangible Discover the Unexpected principle, the description of which is best left to HTC press materials, which state: "Many of the most memorable moments in your life are experienced, not explained. HTC Sense is focused on providing a variety of these simple yet innovative experiences on your HTC phone that will sometimes bring you moments of joy and delight. It can be something as basic as turning the phone over to silence a ring or as a simple as improving the smart dialer for making calls quicker."
In other words: new, cool stuff.
The HTC Hero with Sense will be available in Europe in July and in Asia later in the summer. North America will have to wait until an unspecified season later in 2009.