Dominating the Android world this week was the announcement by handset giant HTC that it will be releasing the most innovative phone to date using the OS by Google (s GOOG), the HTC Hero. This thin, curvy handset shares some of the features of the Android-powered HTC Magic, also known as the myTouch 3G, such as a 3.2-inch touchscreen. It will also sport an onscreen keyboard, like the iPhone (s AAPL).
But what sets the HTC Hero apart from all the other Android phones, be they already released or under development, is the user interface. Dubbed HTC Sense, it allows HTC to give its phones a uniform look regardless of the operating system being used. Sense is also designed to be configured by the user to fit their individual needs.
One of the features of Android that has been lauded by enthusiasts is its tight integration with Google services like Gmail. But by forgoing the standard Android interface, OS updates that are pushed to users over the air can’t be applied to the Hero; owners of the Hero will instead have to rely on HTC to provide them. This could set the stage for OS version fragmentation in the Android world that we have warned against.