So I plumped for a new phone. I now have an HTC Hero. It is an Android-based smartphone (a Google open-sourced operating system with some nice HTC touches on top) with a similar form factor to the iPhone and my previous XDA Orbit 2 (aka HTC Touch Cruise).

Why this one? It’s not an iPhone, but as good as. It is very flexible, has a good developer community writing for it, syncs up very well with Google (where most of my mail and contacts live), similar size and form factor to my previous phone (having a track ball /roller for long lists / moving around web pages can sometimes be easier than flicking with a finger) and is something that very few other people will have.

So far so good.Typing is at least as good as the iPhone, and a lot better than the XDA used to be. Screen is much better and very easy to see in all lighting conditions. The Android Market (=app store) has lots of useful things and lots of useless things. Not quite as many apps (by a factor of many, many) compared to the iTunes music store, but still plenty. Speed is good: I didn’t notice very much of the lagging that was mentioned about the 1.76 ROMs, but I’ve updated to the 2.73 line so am fine.

Updating: I have updated the ROM to the latest Modaco release (plus the most up-to-date radio). FYI the install process did not wipe everything from my phone, but is not necessarily something that all users will want to do. If not, the standard method is to use the updater from your mobile phone company.

Summary of what I did: Install HTC Sync and restart your PC: I think it helps to have at least been prompted once to sync (e.g. mount your phone USB when you connect it to the PC) before you do the rest. Then  follow these instructions (exactly as in post 1) to download and put a permanent recovery image on your device (this allows you to do the other updates very simply indeed). Reboot the phone normally, then download your choice of main image (I chose Modaco core and extended, you might go for the standard new release from HTC). Copy the files to the SD card in the phone (which pops up as a removable drive when you mount it on your PC) and rename them something shorter (,, worked for me). Then boot the phone into its recovery mode (power off normally, then power on holding the home button until you get the screen). Then chose “apply any image on sdcard” from the menu and select each ROM in order. You can do all three in one session; I did core, extended, radio in that order. Reboot normally and you are done.