We've a raft of HTC news today people so let's get straight into it...
First up the long awaited, very impressive (but in my mind slightly underpowered) HTC Hero has finally been released by Orange - in an exclusive graphite finish. It is available from free but you'll need a circa £40pm two year contract for that and this provides a hefty 1,200 minutes along with unlimited data and text messages. So I suspect your ideal tariff may be a step or two down from there (and probably shorter).
Next up an allegedly official rendering of the company's Touch HD successor, the Firestone, has slipped out. The weird triangle is an external speaker which it is claimed delivers unparalleled sound output (for a smartphone) but it does make the touch sensitive key layout something of a mess.
Talk is still that the handset will be dubbed the 'Leo' at launch and I'll bet you the usual HTC specs will be there or there abouts. Namely: 4.3in WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) touchscreen display, HSDPA, WiFi, aGPS, 5MP camera with LED flash, minimal onboard memory augmented by a microSD expansion slot, an accelerometer and Windows Mobile (likely 6.5). Talk is rife the Firestone/Leo will be fitted with a capacitive screen but at present Windows Mobile, including 6.5, doesn't natively support capacitive screens (yes, really!) but perhaps HTC has found a hack. After all it's not like the company isn't experienced at chopping into mobile OSes.
With HTC's famously glass walled security expect more on this soon.
Lastly, HTC is apparently set to give Google Android a huge boost by upping its quota of Android/Windows Mobile handsets to 50/50 in 2010. This is a massive (and probably wise) leap of faith given it made just a single handset in 2008 and under 30 per cent so far this year featured the open source platform. Personally speaking, I'd simply like to see every HTC handset available in Windows Mobile and Android flavours. Surely that makes far more sense...?