"And One More Thing…" For HTC Hero Owners. Alright, A Few Things - Some Hands-On Notes On Android 2.1 On The Hero
Last Updated: May 14th, 2010

As you may have seen, I've been running Android 2.1 on my Sprint HTC Hero for a few weeks now, and I'd like to follow up the mega [p]review of all the new features with a few subtle observations that made me, a long-time Hero user, happy.

These may be small things but it takes only a few of them to take the overall phone experience to a new level.

By the way, if you want to experience Android 2.1 on your Hero without waiting for Sprint/HTC to release it, you can proceed to this how-to that I compiled just for you: To All Complaining About Android 2.1 On HTC Hero – Step 1: Chill Out. Step 2: Do Something About It And Install 2.1 Yourself – Full Tutorials Inside.

The Voicemail App

The visual voicemail app has been slightly revamped, as I already mentioned. But that's not the most important part.

The most important part and my biggest annoyance with the former version was that it used the Media volume to control the playback volume.

This made it extremely annoying - if you are listening to music and keeping your Media volume about 3/4 of the way up, you now have to turn it up when listening to your messages because they're usually quieter.

The reason behind it was simple - the voicemail app was nothing but an audio player, untweaked by HTC.

If you remember, calling your regular voicemail naturally uses the In-call volume because it's just that - a simple phone call.

So in 2.1, the voicemail app finally figures out that it should also use the In-call volume. Here's a screenshot:

 "And One More Thing…" For HTC Hero Owners. Alright, A Few Things - Some Hands-On Notes On Android 2.1 On The Hero

Notification About Market Updates

Update: added this part on 5/14/10.

Now, I'm not sure if this was really an option in the 1.5 Market but I am pretty sure I didn't see it there.

Whenever you have updates, the Market can now put a notifications in your Notifications area, alerting you of the fact. Clicking on this message sends you to the Downloads area where you can update, though still one by one.

"And One More Thing…" For HTC Hero Owners. Alright, A Few Things - Some Hands-On Notes On Android 2.1 On The Hero

The End Key While On A Call

I blame many hung up phone calls on this habit - in 1.5, pressing the End key while on a call and the screen off, hung up the call rather than bring the backlight back.

In 2.1, pressing End doesn't hang up if your screen is off and only does it when the screen is on. This is a very subtle change you need to be aware of, and I actually like it.

Redial And Extra Numbers

I have a couple of numbers which use a "pause" dialer feature. They look something like this: "555-555-5555 p 1 p 1234567890".

This technique of using the so called soft and hard pauses saves me a ton of time when dialing foreign numbers using my calling card.

In fact, since it's not very well known, I just added a tutorial explaining hard/soft pauses in more detail.

In Android 1.5, there was a bug in the dialer app, which prevented numbers containing these pauses from getting redialed. If you saw a number with a pause in your Recent list and clicked on it, it just dialed the base number until the first pause and then refuse to dial any further. This means every time I wanted to redial, I had to find the number all over again by punching in the person's name and dial that way.

In Android 2.1, redialing of numbers with pauses works correctly.

The Dialer Lag

I already mentioned this before but I'd like to highlight it again - the dialer lag is pretty much gone. Lag? What lag?

Number lookups, toggling the speakerphone, dialing, and hanging up - there is snappiness across the board.


Android 2.1 brought many new features, bug fixes, and little changes that made me much happier about this now underdog of a phone. If and when I notice even more new stuff with the update, you can be sure to find it right here.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • emoney

    I find the new facebook for HTC Sense annoying. In 1.5 it would only sync with contacts already in your phonebook. With 2.1 it brings over every facebook contact you have to your master contact list. Yes you can filter them out via the people widget but when composing a new email, text message, etc. the master contact list is queried where these contacts are still present....very annoying in my opinion.......

  • Simon Belmont

    Does the update finally give us Bluetooth headset voice control? I'm pretty sure the answer will be no, but I figured I'd ask anyway.

    Hopefully, Android 2.2 will finally rectify the lack of Bluetooth and Headset voice control interaction. Of course, I doubt Sprint or HTC will be updating my Hero to Android 2.2, so I will have to root it anyway.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I'm not sure as I don't have a bluetooth headset ready. So did you mean pressing a button on the headset and using voice dialing?

      • Spencer Rosengarten

        I'm pretty certain that's what Simon meant. If it's not what he meant, it is what I would have asked. :-)

        My Jabra BT8010 headset is all but useless connected to a 1.5 Hero when trying to use [One-Press] [Voice Command] to dial a number, call a contact or initiate a command through the operating system.

        Does Voice Command/Control through a Bluetooth headset work better under 2.1?

  • Tim

    Are you able to use the Sprint Only apps that come with the Sprint Hero.

    Namely Sprint Navigation? I use the GPS feature of my phone a lot. Or, does the Google Maps app do a decent job with it?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      All Sprint apps are there and functional. I stopped using the Sprint Nav in favor of Google Nav and loving it.

      In fact, since I don't use any Sprint app, I just removed them all altogether (rooted phones allow you to do that).

      • Tim

        Very sweet. I'll be rooting / upgrading and giving 2.1 a go in a few hours.

        I'm tired of the whole Sprint delay. Thanks so much for the article!!

        I'll post back how it went.

        • Tim


          Took me two reboots of the phone for the ROM to operate as it should. Which is no big deal in my opinion.

          Everything seems to be working flawlessly. I am noticing a general speed improvement over the old 1.5 firmware. But there's only so much you can do with the hardware installed.

          Thanks for the gudies!!


  • E. Guerra

    What about the picture text issue? Is that resolved? By issue, I mean how you could not receive picture text (text just comes through with the download tab).

  • Scott

    I find extreme dialer lag to the point where it i click on a name and it takes me several minutes before the phone connects... anyone have a way to fix this?