So I just finished drooling over product shots and screen grabs of HTC's new Hero Android phone on the company's website, and finally got around to posting my thoughts on the launch. And then I realized something - here's the kicker, T-Mo USA fans: You may never, ever get to bask in the glory of HTC's new "Sense UI" for Android (I hope it turns out to be glorious, anyway).
HTC's press release announcing Hero contains this little bit of info:
A distinct North American version will be available later in 2009
I'm betting this doesn't refer to a T-Mobile USA launch. Why? Three reasons.
First, T-Mo's myTouch 3G will ship in August. myTouch is basically an HTC Magic rebranded with T-Mobile and Google logos. It's hard for me to imagine T-Mobile launching another HTC-made, all touch, so-similar looking device before year's end.
Second, T-Mobile is in bed with Google so far as branding goes. From what I understand, Google is very much against Google-branded phones being released with much of anything beyond a standard Android install. So a myFaves app is alright, but a custom UI like Sense probably won't fly with Larry and Sergey. Hero also includes Microsoft Exchange support, which Google also frowns upon (UPDATE: The myTouch 3G will, however, include Exchange support). That makes me think Hero won't be coming to the US with a "Google" logo on it, which means it won't be coming to T-Mobile USA.
Third, HTC specifically called the forthcoming North American version "distinct." A quick trip down memory lane reveals a US carrier who recently launched versions of HTC handsets made "distinct" from their competitors by way of cosmetic changes. Remember Sprint's Touch Pro? Silver instead of black, smooth back plate instead of the faceted diamonds? Sprint and only Sprint had that look for Touch Pro; AT&T's Fuze and Verizon's Touch Pro both looked just like the standard HTC release.
So I wonder, is Sprint getting itself a Hero later this year while T-Mobile USA settles for a phone that was launched in Europe back in February? Just a theory, no inside info to report, but I do wonder.