As anyone who has spent some time with any recent HTC-made Windows Mobile phone ought to know, HTC has a serious knack for taking mobile OSes and customizing them – and there’s no better OS for that than Android. After cranking out the Dream and the Magic with only limited modifications, all signs indicate that HTC is going all out with the tweaks on the upcoming HTC Hero.
Over the past few weeks, a build of the HTC Hero ROM has been floating around, albeit closely guarded, amongst the developer community. A hacker going by the name of Haykuro would port it to the G1, then demonstrate the new features on video. Eventually the build leaked without without Haykuro’s permission, and it spread like wildfire. It’s a buggy beta build and lacks some of the features we’ve already seen (like the Rosie UI home screen), but it’s relatively functional and gives us a sneak peek at some of the cool things to come from the future HTC Android devices.
One of the most striking changes is the general interface. If you thought the default interface on Android was a little bland, you’ll be happy to know HTC has spiced things up a little bit with some splashes of toxic green, grays and blacks. Not enough to rattle your snake? How about integrated Facebook, Flickr and Twitter clients? Even better, when you log in to your Facebook account from the application, you can then link your contacts to their respective profiles. That makes it even easier to add that embarrassing picture they uploaded of themselves after they’ve had one too many drinks. Status updates can also be sent directly from the application.
Each contact entry pulls information from the accounts you have linked. So say you link up the Facebook profile of your best-best-best-friend-twice-removed forever; their birthday, e-mails, status updates will all readily be available. Also accessible directly from each contacts screen is a little icon bar that lets you switch over to view any text messages, e-mails, photo albums (from Facebook or Flickr) and recent calls.
Anybody remember Footprints, that crazy geo-tagging application HTC debuted on the revised HTC Touch Cruise? It’s been ported to Android, and appears in this build. Footprints essentially allows you geo-tag photos, categorize them by places you have been, and rate them.
If you have a rooted G1 and one hell of an itch to dabble, you can find the ROM here. If you can’t read Chinese, you can just download it directly here. Beyond just being rooted, you need to have Haykuro’s new SPL installed that increases your system partition, the newest radio, a recovery image.. in other words, this isn’t for the faint of heart, nor do we recommend it. Props to Haykuro for making this possible. While we can’t officially give props to xdan for leaking this prematurely, we’d probably give him a high five when no one was looking.[PSGallery=2asyo3vcs8]