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HTC Hero Android phone announced

HTC announces it latest Google Android smartphone in London, the HTC Hero.

HTC Hero
The HTC Hero has the signature HTC curve at the bottom.

At a press event in London on Wednesday, HTC unveiled its latest Google Android device, the HTC Hero, featuring a new user interface called HTC Sense.

The HTC Hero will be available in Europe starting in July and in Asia later this summer, while a "distinct" North American version will ship later in 2009. However, pricing was not announced at this time.

Like the T-Mobile G1 and Google Ion/HTC Magic, the HTC Hero has the signature curve at the bottom, but it's a bit more svelte at 4.4 inches tall by 2.2 inches wide and 0.5 inch thick. In addition, it features a 3.2-inch HVGA touch screen with an antifingerprint screen coating.

However, the real beauty of the smartphone lies beneath the surface. The new Sense UI allows users to customize the device to their needs and give them more access to the information they want at a glance through widgets, customized profiles, and consolidated views of all communication with a contact, whether it be e-mail, text or multimedia message, Facebook status updates, or photos. In addition, HTC said that all of its future devices will use Sense UI.

Now playing: Watch this: HTC Hero Android smartphone

Other highlights of the HTC Hero include GPS, a digital compass, gravity sensor, a 5-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microSD expansion slot. A dedicated search button on the phone provides a more contextual search, looking through not only your contact list and e-mail but also Twitter and other areas of the device.

Finally, similar to the Asia-specific HTC Magic, the Hero is not a "Google experience" phone, so HTC has been able to add Microsoft Exchange support to the handset, which will be huge for corporate customers.

CNET's David Carnoy was at HTC's New York event and got video of the HTC Hero in action, which you can check out to the above. CNET UK's Flora Graham was at the London press conference and posted a hands-on photo gallery with first impressions. For more information of the Hero's specs, check out HTC's Web site and let us know what you think of the device below.