By now, news about the launch of the HTC Hero is out all across the Internet. We've got dozens of pictures, a full spec list, a price and time for the UK release, and even a video of the Hero in action. So, now that we know just what the Hero is it's time to speculate on how well it will do. After all, this new HTC/Android lovechild is going up against both the iPhone and the Palm Pre. Does it have any hope of victory?
Yes, and no. There's no way the Hero is even going to remotely approach iPhone sales, but it's got a good shot of beating the Pre. Right now, Android is sort of a niche UI. This is due to the fact that there's only been one smartphone running it for the last year and change. Over the next few months we're going to see the launch of a whole slew of new Android phones, and the HTC Hero is going to end up leading the pack.
I think we're going to see a lot of Heroes sold to businessmen and other young professionals. People who need a powerful but simple smartphone that is modifiable enough to work around whatever hectic lifestyle they have. The reason for this is twofold; the intuitive, open design of the Android OS combined with HTC's new Sense UI.
The Sense UI has an innovative new 'scenes' function that allows users to save multiple different widget configurations and screen layouts. You can set up one 'scene' that has all of the widgets and apps that you need for work on it. When you clock out in the evening, you're just a button away from your social 'scene', or your entertainment 'scene'. HTC has built the Hero into a great little lifestyle device, and that's what's going to make it succeed in this over saturated marketplace.
In terms of power the Hero looks capable of going head-to-head with the iPhone. The 3GS has it beaten on processor speed, but that isn't everything. The Hero has a much better camera, as well as built-in flash support. As much as Apple's tried to turn the Internet away from Flash it's still pretty much ubiquitous. That alone is going to be a pretty big selling point.
If the T-Mobile G1 was the vanguard of the Android invasion, the Hero represents the coming of the main force. If anything is going to bust Android out of its shell and give the open source OS a substantial expansion in market share, it's the HTC Hero. Q3 and 4 of 2009 are going to be big months for Android.