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At Mobile Tech Manor gadgets even show up on Sunday, and today it’s the cool, new HTC Hero from Sprint. The Hero is the phone based on Android that has the HTC Sense user interface. The Hero only landed 30 minutes ago so I haven’t spent […]

At Mobile Tech Manor gadgets even show up on Sunday, and today it’s the cool, new HTC Hero from Sprint. The Hero is the phone based on Android that has the HTC Sense user interface. The Hero only landed 30 minutes ago so I haven’t spent much time with it. I have to admit the interface is very sweet.

How did the Hero arrive on a Sunday, you ask? I received an email this morning from the person who bought my home over a year and a half ago. The email stated a box had arrived for me a few days ago and they were holding it for me should I wish to pick it up. I promptly ran over and grabbed it, only to find the HTC Hero inside.

Dear HTC folks — I love it when you send me gadgets to evaluate but it’s a good idea to let me know before you do so. That way I can make sure you have my current address, and not one going on two years old. Thanks.

 
  1. Is that thing new in the US? Its been in stores here for months

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  2. that doesn’t look like the hero, it looks like sprint has a different model for the US.

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    1. You are quite observant !!!

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  3. The Sprint Hero is redesigned from the GSM version.

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  4. is in this version the HTC Music app also broken for podcasts?

    did you know that – even before Google came out with “Listen” – Android had a “Podcast” feature in their Music player? No, well it turns out neither did HTC, because they broke it in their Sense-UI re-write of Music on the Hero:

    On any Android 1.5 device, you can create a folder called “podcasts” on the SD card. Any music file (mp3/m4a) copied there will be hidden from the normal music lists like Albums, Artists and Songs. Instead, you will get an automatically created playlist called “Podcasts”, which collects all those files. Big deal, you wonder… what is so special. Actually, this is more than a playlist. Any file in from the podcasts list has a bookmark of the last position played, so it remembers where you stopped last time when you go back to that same audio again – even across reboots because the information is stored in the global music database “Media Storage”. The feature is particularly invaluable for people who like audio books, just pop the books audio files in the podcasts folder, and you can continue where you left off last time. Try it out on your HTC Dream or Magic, and it works like a charm.

    Enter HTC Hero: if you attempt the same stunt with the HTC Hero, the only thing you will get is a message telling you that the Music application crashed when you try to open the “Podcasts” playlist. An investigation into why this happens indicates, that HTC engineers might not have been aware of this feature and expect to see a number normally used to identify playlists, whereas a the automatic folders ‘id’ is a string. All this can easily be reviewed in the open source Android code packages for the Music app and the Media Store Provider.

    Contacting HTC support on this did initially only get the quick, albeit standard response to try to hard reset the Hero. All further communication (including a full logcat debug log from the crash) is still unanswered for over a week now.

    My hope is that if there is enough publicity on this, HTC might provide a fix for it eventually. It’s unfortunate that the HTC rewrite of major components of Android for the Sense UI introduces now bugs and instabilities. For me at least, this problem is severe enough to retire the Hero in favour of the Magic, which suddenly seems to have more to offer than a pretty face.

    hope you can help here, and feel free to contact me in case of questions…

    olifink

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    1. That’s really crappy. I listen exclusively to audiobooks and podcasts so I couldn’t live with that. Then again I couldn’t live without iTunes either, that’s why I have an iPhone. For all it’s flaws it’s an awesome device for non-music audio content

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  5. James,

    I’m very interested in your review of this phone, I cant wait for it. I’m ready to switch to sprint and I’m not sure which phone to get, Pre or Hero.

    I’d like to hear your opinion on:

    - Lag issues (if they exist anymore)
    - Is the lag tolerable? (I’m not looking for 3GS speed)
    - Battery life
    - 16 Bit screen (Hero) vs. 32 bit screens (Pre & Iphone)
    - Multitasking (Specifically with Pandora in the background)
    - Internet browswer: Scrolling, speed, formatting.

    Conclusion: Since you are a pre and iphone user, which phone would you get out of all three.

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    1. I’ve only been using the Hero for a few hours but here’s what I can answer so far:

      1. Lag- I’m not finding any lag anywhere within the system. It is definitely faster than the Palm Pre.

      2. Lag is thus tolerable since there’s not one.

      3. I can’t comment on battery life yet. It seems normal so far.

      4. 16-bit screen. I didn’t know this screen was 16-bit and don’t notice any negatives due to it so I’d say it’s OK.

      5. Multi-tasking. I’ve had it running with lots running in the background with no noticable affects. Haven’t tried Pandora yet, though.

      6. Browser. This version of the Android browser that HTC has included is better than the stock one. I’m finding this as good as the iPhone browser. This one even has pinch/zoom that works flawlessly. The browser is my favorite part of the Hero so far and much better than that on the Pre.

      If I was going to Sprint and had to choose between the Pre and the Hero, I’d likely look long and hard at the Hero. This due to the Android platform, the Sense UI enhancements, and the better browser. Throw in tons of apps in the Marketplace and the Hero comes out slightly ahead at this point.

      This could change if I run into problems. Remember I’ve only had the Hero for a few hours.

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  6. I bought the UK version about a month ago and absolutely love it. Secondly the design looks different from the UK version which has a chin. This one does not have the patented chin of HTC Android phones.

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  7. I’ve had my HTC Hero for a month now and I absolutely love it. I love that it’s so well integrated with a the social networks which I use on a daily basis. I just wish there were more useful applications in Android Market. I also wish the camera was a bit better, it’s useless for shots at night.

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  8. I’ve been testing the Hero for a few weeks now and (other than the lack of a physical keyboard) think it’s the best Android device so far. After the official last ROM update the scrolling is very smooth across the home screens.

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  9. Hi James,

    I, too, received a Hero from Sprint to evaluate. Although my primary phone will always have a physical keyboard (sorry iPhone), the Hero is a very, very nice product.

    I find the virtual keyboard is just a bit too sensitive. I wish the touch could be just a tad ** less sensitive ** for the keyboard, although I don’t think that’s possible. I guess I need to “upgrade” my fingers for the Hero’s keyboard.

    I tried to download Pandora, but couldn’t find it on Android Market. When I used the Hero to log onto the Pandora site, it said the device wasn’t supported. I would be shocked, however, if Pandora was not available when the Hero is available on Sprint next month.

    I also have a HTC Touch Pro2 from Verizon, and really like the physical keyboard because of its larger keys, spacing and responsiveness. But even with the HTC GUI, it’s still Windows, with all its problems.

    It would rock with Android.

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    1. I can’t find it either even though it is supposed to be available:

      http://www.pandora.com/android

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    2. The http://www.pandora.com/android site says to type that address into the phone or “Use one of the available barcode scanner apps on your phone to scan this QR code”. I’m not sure how to do that, but its worth a shot.

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  10. James,

    I’m glad to hear that you have your hands on the Hero. I’m a Sprint customer and I’m eligible for a phone upgrade in a few days. I pre-ordered a Hero through Best Buy, and intend to either buy that or the Pre. I’ll be interested to hear more of your impressions over the next few days — they’ll help make my decision easier.

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