Sprint Nextel and Taiwan's HTC announced plans Thursday to release "Hero", a touch-screen mobile phone in October powered by Google's Android software.
The HTC Hero offers synchronization for built-in Google mobile services, including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube as well as access to applications built on the Android platform.
Beginning on Oct. 11, customers will be able to purchase HTC Hero through all Sprint retail channels including Web (www.sprint.com), Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) and Best Buy for $179.99 (excluding taxes) after a $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement. Pre-registration begins today at www.sprint.com/hero.
Sprint already offers the much-hyped Palm Pre, released earlier this year, and the HTC Hero will be competing in a crowded US market against devices such as Apple's iPhone and the Blackberry from Canada's Research in Motion.
HTC Hero is the first U.S. device to feature HTC Sense, "an intuitive experience that was built with a guiding philosophy to put people at the center and allows the device to be completely customized to the wants and needs of the user," according to Sprint. The device?s seven-panel wide home screen can be populated with customizable widgets that bring information to the surface.
HTC Hero users can create and switch between Scenes to reflect different moments or roles in their lives, such as work, social, travel and play. For example, a work Scene can be easily set up to include stock updates, work email and calendar, a play Scene could have music, weather, and a Twitter feed or a travel Scene could offer instant access to the local time, weather and maps.
HTC Hero can be silenced by simply turning it over. It offers an advanced smart dialer for quickly accessing contacts with just a few letters or numbers and a dedicated search key that automatically searches for only information relevant to the current function. When pressed in the mail application, the search will be for text within the mailbox, while a press of the same key from the browser will initiate a Google search.
HTC Hero also features an integrated 5.0 MP camera and camcorder. It also offers access to personal and business e-mail, instant messaging and text messaging through POP, IMAP, and Exchange Active Sync accounts.
It is the first Sprint device to offer HTC Footprints, an application experience that enables the user to chronicle their special moments by capturing a digital postcard on their phone. Once captured, Footprints provides the ability to take notes and an audio clip of that favorite restaurant or special place while identifying its specific location. In addition to identifying each postcard with its specific GPS coordinates, Footprints also auto-names each postcard with its general location or area.
HTC Hero is smartphone with Wi-Fi capability, a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability and a fingerprint resistant coating, integrated GPS navigation, and trackball navigation. Additional features include:
- Stereo Bluetooth 2.0 Wireless technology
- accelerometer, light sensor and home screen widgets for improved usability
- multimedia capable with microSD slot (32GB capable, 2GB included)
- Sprint TV with live and on-demand programming
- NFL Mobile Live and NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM
- easy access to social networking sites, including Facebook, Flickr and Twitter
- visual voice mail for quick and easy access to specific voice mail messages