HTC Hero

We knew back in March that HTC was spooling up for at least three more Android-based smartphones this year, but with the first model out of the chute looking like a G1 minus the keyboard, the rest weren’t looking to promising. Until HTC showed us its Hero this week. Unlike the aforementioned Magic, the HTC Hero will receive a number of impressive updates, including a custom HTC user interface similar to that used on the HTC Diamond and HTC Touch Pro, Flash support and a tough new exterior coating.

HTC Hero
HTC Hero

That’s right: The beautiful HTC interface we’ve raved over on Windows Mobile (minus the whole speed thing) will finally get plastered over an operating system that doesn’t suck. This time around, the company is calling it HTC Sense, and from what we can tell so far, it will include widgets, a customizable shortcut bar, and of course, the gigantic clock we’re used to from previous HTC fare.

Besides the dressed-up new interface, the Hero will also become one of the first smartphones to support Adobe Flash 10, opening up access to everything from YouTube (without a separate application) to other streaming video sites like Break and LiveLeak, not to mention games and previously inaccessible sites that use Flash for their menus.

Though the hardware itself doesn’t quite look revolutionary, HTC has slimmed it down even further from the Magic, and it will also feature a dedicated search button for quick WebOS-style searches through contacts, e-mails, appointments, and even Twitter messages. It also picks up a 5-megapixel camera and a unique Teflon coating, which is supposed to help it resist scratching while also adding a soft grip and deterring fingerprints.

HTC will debut the Hero in Europe this July, and should appear in North America eventually, although quite possibly as a variant of the existing version. More information can be found at HTC.

HTC Hero Controls
The HTC Hero has a curved control pad