By the middle of 2009, Apple was hitting its stride with the seriously good third-generation iPhone 3GS. However, the rival Android platform was still in its first generation with devices such as the Samsung I7500 Galaxy and T-Mobile G1 which didn’t quite have the same level of polish.
However, HTC was pushing things forward and their third Android smartphone was the elegant-looking HTC Hero. In technical terms, this wasn’t a million miles away from HTC’s earlier Magic handset, but it had a better camera and a much sharper design.
The sharper design wasn’t just in terms of hardware. The Hero ran Android 1.5, a fledgling version of this now ubiquitous OS. Early versions of Android were rather rough around the edges, so HTC added their “Sense UI” interface on top of it to make it nicer to use. HTC were pretty good at this sort of thing, having reskinned Windows Mobile on their other smartphones for some time.
It did pretty well in terms of sales, but problems getting carriers to roll out updates to Android 2.1 left some customers annoyed and for most customers there would be no official updates beyond that. In comparison, Apple fully supported the 3GS for four years. Even a decade after the launch of the Hero, the short support lifespan of certain Android phones is an issue.
Image credit: HTC