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The skin used on the Hero is called HTC Sense. The user interface looks similar to the TouchFlo 3D skin that HTC uses on its touchscreen Windows Mobile handsets.
Apart from adding a new graphical sheen to the underlying Google-derived software, Sense also includes federated search capabilities. For example, people can use one search string to scour Microsoft Exchange emails, Gmail and many other types of webmail account.
Searching for a contact will bring up their contact details and their Facebook status updates and photos. In addition, a single search can be made across photos on the phone, on Facebook and on Flickr.
The handset's search button can be used natively in maps, appointments, people, Twitter and, of course, Google search.
HTC has spruced up Android's bookmarking system, using large thumbnails of the user's favourite websites.
The manufacturer worked with Adobe to make sure that Flash content runs in the Hero's browser. HTC also announced on Wednesday that it was joining Adobe's Open Screen Project, which is an industry collaboration to make sure Flash Player 10 and full web browsing work on smartphones, including Android handsets.
The white version of the Hero has a protective Teflon coating — a first for a smartphone, according to HTC.
The Taiwanese handset maker has also given the Hero's 3.2-inch, 320x480 HVGA touchscreen a special coating that, as with the iPhone 3G S, is supposed to be more resistant than usual to fingerprints.
ZDNet UK's hands-on experience, however, suggested that fingerprints are as unavoidable on the Hero's screen as on any other touchscreen.
The HTC Hero has a 1350mAh battery that will, according to the manufacturer, last comfortably for a day.
It also has a flashless, five-megapixel, autofocus camera that provides higher resolutions than the G1 and Magic's 3.2 megapixels.
The Hero runs on a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A processor, as used in the Magic. The chip also underpins the Touch Diamond 2, one of HTC's recent Windows Mobile phones.
Other internal specifications for the Hero include assisted GPS, a digital compass, a gravity sensor and microSD-based expandability.
The Hero, unlike the G1 and Magic, does not require a mini-USB adapter to use 3.5mm-jacked headphones.