HTC announces Android 2.1 upgrade for Hero users

The popular smartphone will finally get an upgrade to the 'Eclair' version of Android, after repeated, unexplained delays in the update's development

The HTC Hero Android smartphone will finally get an upgrade to version 2.1 of Google mobile operating system by the end of this month, after multiple delays.

HTC said on Wednesday that the upgrade to Android 'Eclair' would come in two parts. The first will be rolled out from this week and will be automatically detected by the handset's update checks. The second, which "will follow towards the end of the month", will wipe all data on the phone and therefore necessitate a user data backup, HTC said.

The manufacturer has updated its Sense user interface to incorporate Android 2.1, which introduced features such as multitouch-enabled Google Maps. Until the update is deployed, Hero users are still using Android 1.5 — code-named Cupcake — which does not include even the revamped Android Market that came out with version 1.6 (Donut) and has been available for some time for users of the first Android phone, the G1.

The Hero upgrade to Android 2.1 was first scheduled for March, then late April. HTC has offered no explanation for the repeated delay, other than saying the update took longer than anticipated to develop.

People with operator-branded models of the Hero will have to wait for those operators to deploy their own customised versions of the firmware update. T-Mobile told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the timing of its Android 2.1 release "should be similar to that of HTC". Orange did not respond to a request for its timing.

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