HTC Hero gets SIM-free release date, pricing

Amazon has put HTC's own-branded Android handset, the first not tied exclusively to one operator, on its site for pre-order

The HTC Hero will be made available SIM-free in the UK on 15 July, as shown by its pre-order status on Amazon's UK site.

The Hero will cost £429.99 through the online retailer. The handset is the first Android-based phone not to be tied exclusively to one operator, and will be available in the UK through Orange and T-Mobile, as well as unlocked and SIM-free.

Amazon put the Hero up for pre-order on 24 June. Orange has said it will sell the handset on contract from early July, and T-Mobile intends to begin sales from mid-July. However, neither operator has given more specific timings.

The HTC Hero has several significant differences from other Android handsets that are available in the UK. One is its lack of Google branding, while another is its use of a manufacturer-specific user interface — in this case, HTC's Sense.

The handset also has full Microsoft Exchange functionality built into it, and can handle Adobe Flash content. Most other smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, still cannot display Flash content, which includes much online video and many interactive parts of websites.

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