A very significant system software upgrade for the HTC Hero is now available. Sprint has released a version of Android OS 2.1 for the smartphone bringing a wide array of new features.
The jump from Android OS 1.5 to the latest version of Google’s mobile OS adds support for Google’s navigation service, which offers spoken turn-by-turn directions without a monthly service charge. It also offers much greater support for speech-to-text, allowing users to enter text into an application with only their voice.
In addition to running the Android OS, the Hero uses the HTC Sense user interface, which enhances Google’s standard one. 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 Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. It will also include some new widgets, including an agenda view for the calendar, and another that can display multiple emails.
Installing the Upgrade
The HTC Hero debuted last fall with Android OS 1.5, an out-of-date version, so this upgrade is recommended.
Unlike virtually all OS upgrades, it will erase the contents of the phone. According to Sprint, “You will lose 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.”
However, 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 upgrade software can be downloaded from Sprint’s website. Instructions for installing it from a Windows PC over a USB connection are on the same web page.
It offers mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 5 megapixel camera and a GPS receiver.
Sprint’s Android OS smartphone costs $100.