Android 2.1 on HTC Hero! At last!

It looks like HTC is going to make good on their promise to officially roll out Android 2.1 to all HTC Hero owners by the end of June.  Last week, it was reported that the Android 2.1 OTA update was hitting handsets in Taiwan, but it was an only English & Chinese version. Now it is time for Europe to get the multilingual version. And yes, finally late last night European owners of the HTC Hero started seeing an update being pushed to their handsets. Is this it?

The official statement from HTC indicates that European Hero owners will actually see two updates before the end of the month.Yesterday’s update was indeed only the preparatory PHASE ONE of the European Android 2.1 upgrade roll-out, which paves the way for PHASE TWO – the actual arrival of the new OS.

Here’s HTC’s full statement, courtesy of Android Community:

Android Éclair update for HTC Hero will be released by the end of June. The upgrade will come in two parts, the first of which will roll out from this week and will be detected when the Hero next automatically checks for software updates. The second part of the update will follow towards the end of the month. As the second part of the upgrade will wipe all data on the handset, Hero users should ensure any important data has been backed up before proceeding with the installation. Due to the size of the update, wherever possible, we would advise using a WiFi connection for this download to avoid additional data charges”

Yesterday was just the foreplay, basically.

So the first update has been rolled out to HTC hero owners. You will be receiving this the next time your handset pings HTC’s servers to check for the latest update. Note that restarting your handset or changing the date typically forces the phone to search for new updates, so you can get this now.  HTC is being rather vague, not releasing any details on what the first update actually changes on the phone. But this over the air update is currently available by the name “Firmware over-the-air (FOTA) client update & YouTube player Update.”  So it’s all about a client update and the YouTube player update, but it also get the device updated to the latest “2.73.405″ firmware! 😉

According to  HTC they will be pushing out a second OTA update to the HTC Hero before the end of the month which will include the actual Android 2.1 update. That second update will be obvisouly larger so as to contain the full Android 2.1. This will also wipe the Hero completely, so HTC are recommending users to back-up their handsets prior to installing it. If you don’t already have backups of your HTC Hero files, then you need to start getting some…or at least one before the update.

In an ideal world everything should get backed up to your Google Account however its not quite that simple. Small important things will not be backedup to the cloud like:

  • Your SMS messages,
  • your pictures, ( backed up to your sd card)
  • your MMS
  • your bookmarks
  • HTC widget settings
  • Application Data

The best way to ensure that these are safeguarded is to use an app like Sprite Backup or Mybackup Pro both which come highly recommended, but also priced at $4.95-$4.99. For those of you who don’t want payments, there are a few good options as well, like SMS Backup that will backup your SMS messages to your Gmail account- ( here is a link to download from market). Also Application Data- Programs like Evernote, Dropbox, Astrid and Springpad have synchronisation features that ( if activated) allow you to backup your items to the internet for free. Some applications like Secrets for Android  allow you to export your data to the sd card where it can be backed up. Also let’s not forget Astro File Manager!

We don’t have any indication on when the second update will be hitting your phones, but be sure to backup before.