HTC has unveiled its latest handset based on Google's Android mobile operating system.
Although Android natively supports a flexible desktop interface, the HTC Hero includes a new platform from HTC called Sense, which is much like the TouchFlo overlay developed for the firm's Windows Mobile Devices starting with the HTC Touch.
"HTC Hero introduces a more natural way for reaching out to people and accessing your important information, not by following the status quo of today's phones, but by following how you communicate and live your life," said Peter Chou, chief executive at HTC.
"Voice is key, but it is no longer enough. We demand ever more from our phones both in terms of features and customisation."
The Hero's design resembles that of the HTC Magic, but includes several new enhancements such as a Teflon casing and a fingerprint resistant screen.
The Hero sports a 3.2in touch screen at a resolution of 320x480, and is the first smartphone since the iPhone to support multi-touch technology. It also packs in Assisted GPS, a digital compass and a gravity sensor. The Hero runs on a Qualcomm 528MHz processor and includes 288MB of user accessible memory.
HTC has finally ditched the miniUSB headset and included a standard 3.5mm headset jack, as well as a 5-megapixel camera and a MicroSD slot for expandable memory. HTC reckons users will get up to 470 minutes of talk time, and up to 440 hours on standby.
The company has also being working closely with Adobe to bring full Flash support to the Android platform, starting with the Hero.
Chou explained that the new Sense platform is based on three key tenets: 'Make it Mine'; 'Keep it Close' and 'Discover the Unexpected'.
These principles translate into several new features, including a range of push-content widgets to offer easy access to real-time information, including email, calendar, weather or status updates.
The platform also introduces a profile management feature dubbed 'Scenes' that enables users to create different customised profiles around specific functions or times.
Using the Sense technology means that communications can be viewed by contact, integrating text messages, emails, phone calls, photos and status updates.
Much like the Magic, the Hero also includes a dedicated Search button that provides contextual search, making it easier to look through contacts, emails, social networks or addresses.
The Hero is expected to land in Europe in July, initially through T-Mobile and Orange. It is due in Asia later in the summer, and HTC will also offer a slightly modified version for the US market later in the year.
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