Android 2.1 for Sprint Hero Today? (updated)

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For those of you who own the HTC Hero on the Sprint network, today (05/07/2010) was supposed to be your lucky day! After several delays, rumors, and information from seemingly reliable sources, today was finally supposed to be the day when the Sprint HTC Hero would get an upgrade. Today’s date was supported by a few separate sources including a screenshot of an alleged Best Buy internal knowlegebase article prepping employees for today’s release.

UPDATE

@Sprint on Twitter just posted the following two tweets:

“Android users:Sprint continues to work closely w Samsung/HTC on 2.1, on track to be avail Q2. Sprint had hoped to have this resolved by now.” (1)

“Many thanks to our customers for your continued patience as we work to bring you a positive experience with the 2.1 upgrade.” (2)

The Sprint Hero is a beautiful device. It’s screen is fairly large and very sharp. I think they over-did it a little with the scroll button (it’s huge), but it works. Unfortunately, the Sprint Hero is stuck on Android 1.5. (Ironically, a good deal of the questions to my articles come from Hero owners who can’t find something I referred to in an article on the Market because the app is written for Android 1.6+.)

Why didn’t Hero get an update to 1.6 when the G1 did?

Sprint (or HTC, or both) were fairly slow in approaching updates for this phone. Shortly after 1.6 was available on phones, the Verizon Droid was announced, running Android 2.0.1. Shortly after that came 2.1.

Since upgrading to 1.6 would theoretically take the same amount of time and effort as upgrading to 2.1, I think they decided to wait it out and go with the latest version of the OS.

Additionally, the G1 runs the stock version of the Android OS with a few custom apps from T-Mobile pre-installed on it. The Hero has quite a few custom apps, including a very nice looking version of the HTC Sense UI. All of these apps must be updated and qualified on the new OS (or removed) before Sprint will push out the update.

Why the delays?

We know that Google has Android 2.1 ready (it’s already running on many phones). We’ve heard that HTC has finished their part of the upgrade process and has delivered the ROM to Sprint. Apparently the delay resides inside Sprint. Whether this delay is from adding the Sprint “extras” into the ROM, figuring out how best to distribute it, or even scheduling training for their phone support representatives, we simply do not know.

Another possibility is that rather than pushing out the 2.1 upgrade, they’re waiting for the Evo with its “4G” which comes with Android 2.1, hoping that Hero users will buy the new phone (and renew their contracts) to get 2.1. Then, after they’ve captured a good deal of those customers, hopefully we’ll see an official 2.1 upgrade from Sprint for the Hero.

Is it possible 2.1 for Hero will come out today?

As of this writing, it’s not likely. Sprint has previously said they want to upgrade the Hero and Moment in the first half of 2010. That date is still a little way off.

If 2.1 gets released later today I’ll update this article accordingly (don’t hold your breath). After today (05/07/2010) keep an eye on this Sprint page for further information: http://shop.sprint.com/en/software_downloads/pda_smartphone/htc_hero.shtml

Is there another way you can get 2.1 on your Sprint Hero?

If you don’t mind voiding your warranty (and potentially bricking your phone) yes, yes there is. The good folks over at XDA-Developers.com have you covered: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=674833

What do you think?

Has Sprint’s delay in releasing Android 2.1 on the Hero impacted your decision to use Sprint as your carrier?

Do you think Sprint is waiting for people to upgrade to the Evo before releasing the 2.1 upgrade for the Hero?

Would you upgrade to the Evo after having witnessed Sprint’s lethargy with the Hero and Moment upgrages?

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.