HTC has confirmed rumours of a follow on to the HTC Hero, the HTC Legend, at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The new handset is carved from a single block of aluminium and resembles the design ethos of the Apple MacBook Pro unibody design.

"The frame is the body, the body is the frame", Eric Lin at HTC told Pocket-lint before commenting that: "The beauty of the one piece design over the Hero is that we can make a phone the same as the Hero but smaller".

Worried that the new metal body would destroy the ability of the phone to receive a signal, the battery door will not only be plastic, but also house the antenna to skirt around any potential problems.

On the specs front the new handset will sport a 3.2-inch AMOLED display, a 5-megapixel camera with flash and an optical navikey losing the Hero's mechanical trackball offering.

If that wasn't enough to woo Hero fans into replacing their phone, the Legend will also be offering Android 2.1 and a new and improved Sense UI.

Features include a "helicopter view" that by pinching the screen will display all the home screens so you can access them quickly in a similar way to Apple's Expose feature on Mac OSX.

Legend users will also get a new app that combines Twitter, Flickr and Facebook feeds into one queue, called Friendstream, allowing users to easily manage their social networking life. There isn't currently support for Google Buzz.

Running a faster 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, the new phone will be available in March for those looking to upgrade.

Operator details have yet to be announced in the UK, however HTC has confirmed that it won't be heading to the US in its current guise.

We will be bringing you a hands on gallery and "official" images when they are released by HTC, in the meantime read our HTC Legend First Look review of the new handset in which we had a sneak peek before today's official announcement. 

We will keep you posted.