London — HTC will offer its Android-based Hero touchscreen phone in North America, but the company didn’t say if U.S. carrier T-Mobile World will offer the unit.
The U.S. launch will come after a summertime introduction in Europe and Asia. Last year, T-Mobile launched
, the world’s first Android OS device, and the carrier recently announced plans for its second 3G Android phone, the HTC-made
, which is based on HTC’s Magic. The MyTouch becomes available for pre-order by current T-Mobile subscribers on July 8 at $199 with a two-year contract. Preordered devices ship to consumers in late July, followed by retail availability nationwide in early August.
The Hero, like the MyTouch and G1, are 3G phones incorporating 3G W-CDMA and 7.2Mbps HSPA high-speed data. All three feature touchscreen operation, but the G1 adds horizontal slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
The Hero, available in white, will be the company’s first Android phone to ship with support for Adobe Flash, used by many Web sites as their video-streaming format. The Hero will also be the first phone incorporating HTC’s Sense user interface, said to provide a “more natural way for reaching out to the people and accessing your important information,” the company said.
The Hero features 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, beveled edges, and a bottom that angles up toward the user to fit more comfortably against a user’s face during calls. An anti-fingerprint screen resists smudges, and the body is Teflon-coated to improve surface durability and provide a soft touch. Other features include 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, GPS, digital compass, gravity-sensor, stereo Bluetooth, 3.5mm stereo headset jack, 5-megapixel autofocus camera and MicroSD memory slot.
A dedicated Search button lets users search through multiple applications at once, including Twitter, the phone’s contact list and the phone’s email inbox.
The phone’s Sense user interface lets users customize how they want to access people and content, in part through widgets. Consumers can customize the widgets to push content such as Twitter feeds, weather and the like “to the surface” for quick viewing, or users can push email and calendar information to the surface and world-times. In addition, the type of content pushed to the surface can change automatically based on specific functions in which the user is engaging.
Sense also integrates communications functions. With one glance, consumers can view the emails, text messages and call history of a single person along with that person’s social-media status updates and Flickr photos.
HTC didn’t reveal the bands in which the “distinct North American version” of the Hero will operate, but T-Mobile’s G1 and MyTouch operate in 3G HSPA mode in T-Mobile’s 1.7/2.1GHz bands an in foreign 2.1GHz bands. They also operate in quadband EDGE mode.