While HTC had previously committed to releasing Android 2.0 for the Android HTC Hero, the company may in fact actually skip Android 2.0 in favor of porting its Sense UI onto Android 2.1. HTC has stated that its unlocked GSM version of the Hero is destined for Android 2.0, but the fate of carrier versions of the handset will be up to carriers like Sprint to decide.
It is unclear at this point what new features Android 2.0 will bring to the HTC Hero. While 2.0 adds a lot of new features to vanilla versions of Android, HTC has done a great job of integrating features that were missing in Android 1.x in which Google implemented in Android 2.0, including Exchange ActiveSync support, Facebook and social networking integration, and other HTC widgets. A move from Android 1.5 to 2.x will, however, be a welcomed move none the less for Hero owners as they can get Google Maps with Navigation–that program, with turn-by-turn, spoken, text to speech voice guided navigation, has been ported to Android 1.6 and higher, but not the Android 1.5 version of the operating system that the Hero runs on.