SIM-free HTC Hero up for pre-order

HTC's Hero handset, the new Android offering, has gone up for pre-order over on Amazon.co.uk.

According to the info on the page, the etailer will be offering the touchscreen device for £429.99, due for release on 15 July.

Amazon does note that this date is "subject to change" and reports coming in to Pocket-lint suggest that might be the case.

Pocket-lint reader Tony has got in touch with the news that Orange is quoting an August release date for the phone, in contrast to the early July date cited at launch, apparently due to some unspecified "hitches".

We got in touch with Orange to check to see if the handset is still due in the next week or so, and an Orange spokesperson duly stated that the Hero is still due early July.

However, a call to Orange's sales line gave us the same result as Tony, with the news that the phone will not be available until August.

So what's the story here? Regular readers will remember that the HTC Magic's launch was similarly delayed on Vodafone.

The August timescale that Orange telephone sales reps are quoting could well be due to something as simple as input error on their system, as we have to consider that the operator is insisting the early July launch still stands.

A call to T-Mobile to see how the G1 Touch launch is coming along did not reveal much. T-Mobile has no confirmed date for the launch, but a sales person told us that when a phone shows up on the site's "coming soon" section it usually signifies the phone will go on sale in 2 weeks.

The G1 Touch is not on the T-Mobile site yet, something the staffer suggested meant availability is likely to be in around 3 week's time at the earliest.

As far as official statements get you, the HTC Hero is on track, but we wouldn't be totally surprised to see a delay, so watch this space.

Thanks to Tony for the tip.