It's not by any means confirmed, but we're hearing word that Orange has offered at least one Orange customer a £50 upgrade to the HTC Desire, despite his 18-month contract not being due to expire for almost a year.
The person in question logged into his Orange account on the company's website, and checked his upgrade options to find the HTC Desire displayed as an option - in either brown or black, though the latter was marked as "coming soon". It's not clear whether or not he was able to successfully order the upgrade.
We've contacted Orange to find out if this is true, and if so whether it's being offered to all HTC Hero customers on the network. We'll let you know when we get a response. In the meantime, if you're an HTC Hero-owning customer on Orange, let us know in the comments whether you're seeing this as an option for you, and we'll update this post.
Update: Conflicting reports from our commenters, with some saying they're seeing it and others saying that they're not. We're trying to get to the bottom of this. Stay tuned.