The HTC Hero is one of the most sought-after phones among hard-core Google Android fans. It went on sale last month with several European carriers, but it has yet to receive an official U.S. launch date. That lack of confirmation has led many to speculate which North American carrier will land the phone first.
AT&T should offer a Google Android phone this year, but the carrier's plans remain unclear. Several months ago, we got a first look at the HTC Lancaster, but there has been no news since. The phone had a target availability of August 3, but AT&T may be fine-tuning the software.
Last month, the HTC Hero was spotted on the FCC site with the WCDMA 850/1900 bands that AT&T uses. We've seen other Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy get the FCC's approval, but still fail to materialize. If you're an AT&T customer who is hoping for an Android phone, you might have much longer to wait.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has taken the wait and see approach for an Android phone. After recent upgrades to the operating system, Hesse said Android was ready for prime time and Sprint would offer at least one Android device this year.
One week after Hesse's announcement, Engadget posted a leak of upcoming Sprint phones that included the HTC Hero and the Samsung Q.
As with any Internet rumor, I wouldn't hold my breath, but this tip came from a mobile software developer who has been making the same claim since April.
HTC has a history of launching the same handset across multiple carriers, so it's not hard to imagine the Hero on Sprint and AT&T. On the other hand, since carriers like exclusive deals, there may a bidding war behind the scenes. One way or another, Sprint customers will have something to look forward to this holiday season.
At the recent MyTouch 3Gmedia event, T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman said the carrier had no plans to bring the HTC Hero to market. This may disappoint several T-Mobile customers, but they have other Android phones like the Motorola Morrison to look forward to later this year.