HTC's Android-Powered Hero
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On Wednesday Sprint released a new version of Android OS 2.1 with several new features that improve functionality. The upgrade, however, comes with this caveat posted on Sprint's download page:
WARNING: Installing this software will erase your current user data. Please see instructions below for details.
Installing the update will "delete all information from your device,'' including "contacts that have not been synced to an email account, text messages that have not been forwarded, saved voicemail messages older than 5 days, voicemails older than 20 days that have not been listened to, and call history. The calendar and email settings will also revert back to factory defaults."
On the upside, the upgrade from the Android 1.5 OS renders a staggering number of features. They include support for Google's navigation service, which offers spoken, turn-by-turn directions without having to pay a monthly service charge. It also offers much greater support for speech-to-text, letting users speak in order to enter text into an application.
Users will also have support for Microsoft Exchange, Adobe Flash support, improved keyboard layout, enhanced Google maps and the ability to search SMS messages, among other additions.
Besides running the Android OS, the Hero uses the HTC Sense user interface, which enhances Google's standard UI. The upgrade to the smartphone's system software will include a new version of Sense, which will add a new feature called FriendStream, which brings together posts made to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
Some new widgets will also be included such as an agenda view for the calendar and another that can display multiple emails.
As for the data deletions, a single sign-on to Google will bring back all of the contacts. Files stored on the microSD memory card, such as pictures, music and videos will not be affected. And data stored remotely -- such as on Google Calendar or a Microsoft Exchange Server -- won't be affected.
The HTC Hero was introduced in late 2009 and is reviewed here. It has a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen, but it won't have the same Android user interface that comes with devices like the T-Mobile G1 or the upcoming myTouch 3G. HTC has layered its own UI, called Sense, on top of the Google-backed Android in order to add gesture controls, widget support, and quick-launch icons for things like e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or other Web-based applications.