HTC Hero

Motorola DEXT Orange launch event: hands-on [Video]

After Vincent spent some playtime with the Motorola CLIQ last week, shortly after the company announced their first Android device, Orange and Motorola UK invited us to the launch event for the Motorola DEXT.  Same device, different name; that means the same 3.1-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen display, the same wireless connectivity and the same 5-megapixel camera. It was also an opportunity to see how the DEXT stacks up next to the HTC Hero, currently my regular phone and one we rated highly in our review.  The Hero seems better put together than the DEXT - albeit the latter was a pre-production model, and that could all change when the commercial devices appear - but of course the Motorola has that tactile QWERTY keyboard in a chassis not that much thicker than the HTC's. The Motorola DEXT will arrive on Orange in the first full week of October, priced at free with a new £35 ($58) contract that includes unlimited data, messaging and sat-nav access.  Check out my first-impressions of MOTOBLUR - and how it compares to HTC Sense - over at SlashGear. [vms f2ff029a833cccc778fd] [gallery]

HTC Hero ROM 2.73.405.5 rolling out [Update 2]

The much anticipated HTC firmware update for the Hero seems to be on its way, with ROM version 2.73.405.5 showing up on the company's Nordic support site.  Tipped to address issues of slow screen transitions, sluggishness of apps - including HTC Sense, the company's UI makeover - and generally speed up the system as a whole, it seems reasonable to assume that HTC will be pushing out other regional variants imminently. The new firmware doesn't just make the Hero more speedy; it also brings with it a tweak to the 5-megapixel camera.  That tweak adds touch-to-focus, a feature seen on some of HTC's Windows Mobile smartphones. A PC is required to install the ROM, which is a free download.  It's unclear whether this is a regionally-specific update - e.g. solely for those HTC Hero handsets in Denmark - or one suitable for across the board; we'll be keeping an eye on other HTC regional sites to see what turns up there, too. Update: There's talk from a Swedish forum that HTC support in that country are advising not to use this update, warning that it "misses an important piece in the ROM". The "real" one is said to be coming tomorrow, though other users are claiming to have installed it with no problems; might be worth waiting to see what arrives over the weekend. [Thanks John!] Update 2: We've spoken to HTC and they say there's no problem with the ROM available on the Swedish site. [via SlashGear]

Best Buy to Offer HTC Hero on Sprint

One of the things that I hate the most about buying smartphones is that the price you see typically isn't the real price of the phone. You have to hope for instant discounts and often you need to mail in rebates. Sprint has announced that on October 11 it will be offering the HTC Hero Android phone to its customers for $179.99 after a $50 instant rebate and a $100 mail-in rebate. Best Buy is offering a sweeter deal for the same phone though.

HTC Hero Bluetooth profiles detailed

HTC have told Android Community exactly which Bluetooth profiles the HTC Hero supports, useful details if you're considering coding a wireless app for the platform or just wondering whether it will work with your car kit.  According to the official spec sheet, the Hero - which we reviewed earlier this week - has support for the usual headset and hands-free profiles, but lacks more advanced ones such as Remote SIM Access. When we invited questions from our Android Community members, one of first was which Bluetooth profiles the Hero would support.  Unfortunately that information wasn't clear from our review unit, but HTC have got back to use to confirm the list. The news will come as a disappointment to a minority of users, but for most the inclusion of A2DP/AVRCP will be enough to keep them happy.  However the absence of any OBEX-style remote file system exploration is a frustration.

Our HTC Hero review goes live at SlashGear

Our review of the HTC Hero is finally ready, and it's no understatement to say that this Android smartphone impressed us greatly.  Back in our unboxing video and HTC Sense demo we suggested that the Hero could be the best Android device to date, and the time we've spent with the handset has left us thinking that's certainly the case. The review is almost 4,000 words in all, and hopefully answers just about all of the questions about what improvements to Android HTC have made with their new custom UI.  There's also a video demo of how the Hero handles widgets, plus Flash video and multitouch in the smartphone's browser. We know our Android Community members will still have plenty of questions, so ask away; HTC are clawing our Hero demo unit back from us on Thursday, so there's still time to get any specific queries answered.  In the meantime, check out the full HTC Hero review here.

HTC Hero in the house! Video unboxing & overview

HTC dropped a present at our door today: an unlocked HTC Hero, all ready for the official Android Community review.  We wasted no time in shooting a video unboxing and brief Sense UI overview video, together with a few in-hand photos to whet your (and our!) appetites. In case you've forgotten, the HTC Hero has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, HSPA, WiFi b/g and GPS, together with the latest Android OS 1.5 "Cupcake".  Where it differs from HTC's previous Android devices, however, is in HTC Sense, the company's new UI which integrates with the open-source OS and adds numerous widgets and other usability improvements. We'll have the full review of the HTC Hero very soon, after we've had the chance to put it through its paces.  First impressions?  It's perhaps the best Android device to-date. HTC Hero unboxing and Sense UI overview: [vms 9af4dd08de5d1de54f68] [gallery]

T-Mobile UK rename Hero (again) to G2 Touch; launching later in July [Updated]

T-Mobile UK have reconfirmed that they will be offering the HTC Hero, although in their line-up it will be known as the T-Mobile G2 Touch and not the G1Touch as originally suggested.  Set to hit the market later in July, according to the carrier's Twitter account, details of the handset's price and tariffs are yet to be confirmed by an official press release. The carrier will go head to head with rival Orange, who are also offering the Hero (in their case with its original name).  Since Orange are pricing the Android smartphone from free with a new two-year agreement, it seems likely that T-Mobile UK will do the same. The news comes as T-Mobile USA revealed this week that they have no plans to offer the HTC Hero on their side of the Atlantic.  Speaking at the launch of the T-Mobile myTouch 3G (aka the HTC Magic), CTO Cole Brodman said the Hero was not on their US radar. Update: T-Mobile  UK have confirmed that the G2Touch will be free with a new 18-month contract at £40 per month; the tariff will be one of their Flext schemes, offering £225-worth of credit per month to be used as the subscriber sees fit. [vms 7b5f9259f82690aeea4c]

HTC Hero in wild, gets video unboxing

We're not entirely sure where they acquired it - or perhaps who they had to bribe - but CoolSmartPhone have managed to find an HTC Hero for a few days of play.  Their unboxing video inexplicably starts with a brief wildlife watch, and takes place one-handed in a car, but we'll cut them some slack; after all, we all know what it's like to be so excited by a new toy that we can't wait until we're home to open it up. Most of the video is a general overview of the device hardware; there's no SIM in the handset at first, but we're pleased to see that the Hero will still let you access much of Sense without one.  The new HTC UI looks just as smooth as it did in our hands-on testing. Otherwise the contents of the box seems to be pretty much in line with every other HTC Android device we've seen: USB cable for charging and synchronizing, a power adapter and interchangeable power plug section, and stereo headset. We're expecting our own Hero in soon, so keep asking questions for the official Android Community review! [youtube][/youtube]

HTC Hero ROM on HTC Magic [Video]

Hot on the heels of the HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1) "Rosie" HTC Sense video demo comes this, HTC's second Android device, the Magic, supposedly running the official firmware from the upcoming HTC Hero.  Unlike the LeakDroid SuperHERO ROM, this Fatal1ty ROM is tipped as being almost unmodified. In fact, all they've apparently done is tweaked it just enough to make it run on the Magic.  Because of that it supports Flash, as well as all the HTC widgets expected to be on the production Hero.  There's also multitouch support, and in the latest version both GPS and the camera are functional. The one significant drawback we're hearing is that Sense must be completely reloaded whenever the Magic's home button is pressed, something which as you'd expect slows matters right down.  That could be a memory issue or something else to be addressed by the hacked ROM creators.  [youtube][/youtube]

HTC Sense SuperHERO ROM gets video demo

If you fancy a taste of HTC Sense on your G1 or Magic, the regular "Rosie" ROM leaks have already provided a way.  The LeakDroid project has been taking the Haykuro ROMs - which include the new HTC Sense UI - and developing builds for those with earlier devices.  Android HDblog have been playing with the latest so-called SuperHERO ROM, and put together a video demo which you can see below.  They've loaded it up on the HTC Dream (aka the T-Mobile G1) and given their opinion of the changes. Unsurprisingly the multitouch browser support, new PMP functionality and social networking integration all get high praise.  Less impressive are the slow performance and occasional crashes, together with the absence of screen-rotation support (that currently leads to more crashing).  Still, it's free to try and with the news that official "with Google" branded devices are unlikely to see HTC Sense officially these hack projects might be your best bet. [youtube][/youtube]
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