HTC Hero to get Android Eclair, skip Donut

HTC's Hero handset will be upgraded to Android 2.0 at some point, the manufacturer has confirmed.

HTC's Hero handset will be upgraded to Android 2.0 at some point, the manufacturer has confirmed.

A tweet from the company's official account late on Wednesday read: "The rumors are true! Hero will be getting an Eclair update. We ask for your patience as we update Sense for the fancy new Android OS."

Android 2.0, the so-called 'Eclair' revision of Google's open source mobile operating system, introduces a refreshed user interface, Bluetooth-based peer-to-peer connectivity and native Exchange support.

European Hero users will not, however, get the 'Donut' revision of Android, also known as version 1.6. In an email sent to a customer by HTC, the company said: "The Hero will not be receiving the Android 1.6 upgrade, it will however get the 2.0 one".

When a new version of Android is released, manufacturers such as HTC then integrate the new version into their own customised implementations of the OS. The result then often goes to the operator so branding and operator-specific functionality can be added.

Donut is currently being rolled out over-the-air to users of 'Google experience' phones such as the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic. However, these handsets do not have the HTC Sense user interface skin, so it is likely that HTC has simply decided to skip Donut because Eclair — which has already appeared on Motorola's Droid handset — is itself almost ready for a wide rollout.

The HTC Hero, not being a Google experience handset, has to receive firmware upgrades through being connected to a PC via USB cable. This requires a wipe of the old OS version and reinstallation of all user settings and applications, so skipping Donut might make life easier for Hero users after all.