HTC Hero Android Phone Coming June 24?

Mobile handset giant HTC, maker of the Android-based Dream and Magic, will launch another Android phone, the HTC Hero

This truly is turning into the Summer of Smartphones. The Palm Pre, of course, has already debuted to mostly positive reviews, and seemingly endless clues point to a next-gen iPhone launch in the very near future.

Now there's word that mobile handset giant HTC, maker of the popular Android-based T-Mobile G1, will launch another Android phone, the HTC Hero, on June 24 in London. The report from the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) states the Hero will come in two configurations, one with a QWERTY keyboard and one without. The keyboard model will be named the HTC Memphis or HTC Lancaster, and will be sold exclusively by AT&T Wireless for six months starting in the third quarter, EDN states.

In addition to running Android (Google's up-and-coming mobile operating system that's likely to cross over to netbooks soon), the Hero will feature HTC's own TouchFLO 3D user interface. If you want to see TouchFLO 3D in action, check out the HTC Touch Diamond2 or HTC Touch Pro2, two iPhone rivals that run Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS.

Reports from the UK indicate HTC is planning a bash for June 24, and that it's notifying journalists to "save the date" for a big launch event.

It's no secret that HTC has big plans for Android. Earlier this year it announced plans to ship at least three Android smartphones in 2009, including the HTC Magic, a slick handset that debuted at February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The upcoming T-Mobile G2, slated to ship in July, will be very similar to the HTC Magic, according to various reports.

HTC must be wondering if it has timed its Hero bash just right. Will the press and public still be swooning over the Palm Pre and new iPhone?

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Jeff Bertolucci

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