T-Mobile G1 Touch, HTC Hero: Multitouch, proper headphone jack and Exchange support

The forthcoming HTC Hero will be the company's first handset to show off HTC Sense, a customisable front-end for Android that pulls together all your social data

HTC has announced a new front end for its Android mobile phones. HTC Sense, which allows you to customise your phone and aggregate your social media, will debut on the HTC Hero, also known as the T-Mobile G1 Touch.

The Hero, with its distinctive curve towards the bottom, features assisted GPS, a digital compass, 3.5mm stereo headset jack and 5-megapixel camera with autofocus. A dedicated search button lets you search Twitter as well as information stored on the phone. Data is saved on microSD cards.

Support for Microsoft Exchange is included out of the box. We're waiting to hear from T-Mobile and HTC how this has been achieved, but we're guessing that it's through a pre-installed, third-party application, as the Android operating system doesn't support this natively. As current Exchange apps on the Android Market tend to be paid-for, and some are of dubious quality, it should save you money in the long run.

The handset includes a gravity sensor. If you think about it, though, every phone has one of those: drop it onto concrete and you'll quickly see that, yep, gravity is still there.

Screen smears are seen off with an anti-fingerprint screen coating, while HTC is proud of what it describes as an industry first: a Teflon coating. How novel: a non-stick phone.

Our mobile-phone expert Flora is getting some face time with the Hero as we speak, so check back later for some hands-on pics and first impressions. In the meantime, hit continue to find out more about Sense and see more pics.

Update: Expect the G1 Touch and Hero to be available in July for free with T-Mobile and Orange on a £40-per-month contract.

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