HTC is the largest maker of smartphones in the world after Nokia (s NOK), and the company behind many of the most popular phones in the Android (s GOOG) and Windows Mobile (s MSFT) markets. HTC has today unveiled the HTC Hero smartphone with the new HTC Sense interface.
The HTC Hero, which is Android-based, is a thin touch phone with no physical keyboard. The Hero has a 3.2-inch HVGA screen that follows in the footsteps of the new iPhone (s AAPL) 3GS with an anti-smudge coating to reduce fingerprints. HTC has included a 5 MP auto-focus camera.
The Hero looks like a solid entry in the Android phone camp but what sets it apart from other phones is the new interface, called HTC Sense. This interface is customizable and it designed for touch operation. HTC is indicating it will be the company’s new interface going forward, used on multiple products in the future. We may have been right on the money with our analysis in the past that pointed out that HTC is removing the OS from the interface. I wouldn’t be surprised to see HTC Sense become a cross-platform interface for HTC phones, whether they are Android-based or have Windows Mobile under the hood.
The HTC Hero will be available in Europe in July and in Asia later this summer. A North American version will be out later this year.
UPDATE: Engadget points out that this is not a “Google Experience” Android phone which means that it will not be possible to download apps firmware updates over the air. Bummer as that is one of the big strengths of Android.