These photos, we’re told, are the first shots of the HTC Hero in the wild, the company’s next Android smartphone.  Closely resembling the leaked HTC Hero image from the beginning of the year – though thankfully without the shocking-pink color scheme – the handset has a reworked keypad from that concept shot and drops the G1/Magic trackball.

That, with the lack of a D-pad or any other obvious directional control, means all navigation will have to be done via the touchscreen.  Stylistically it’s a blend of the recent Diamond2 (though without the chrome touches) and the original G1, though we’re not really feeling those blobby buttons; side-shots show the traditional HTC-Android-chin is still onboard.  What is a pleasant surprise is a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Obviously any leaked photos should be taken with a grain or two of salt; we’re particularly suspicious of image four (in the gallery below) where the angled chin section looks a little Photoshopped.  Of course, poor lighting and low resolution shots also add up to unsatisfying images, so we may have to wait for more leaks to find out if this truly is the HTC Hero.