Like the iPhone before it, the HTC Hero does not so much rely on its own applications than use the Market store to make it into that much of a better phone.
Admittedly, the Market is about one tenth the size of the App Store Apple has so lovingly crafted, but if such things as augmented reality and cheaper applications (with a lower cut taken by Google for each application) come to fruition, then it makes sense that this portal will quickly become a real alternative to the App store.
But the inbuilt options on the HTC Hero aren't that bad either, with the likes of the calculator and the calendar bringing a touch of Google fun to proceedings. It may sound like a little thing, but the graphical interface used with the calculator is a nice touch and makes everything feel a little bit more polished.
The Calendar obviously synchronises easily with your Google Calendar online, although when looking it in month mode there could be a better indication of when there's an event on the highlighted day.
QuickOffice is obviously a nice touch on the phone, as it helps take the handset up a level in terms of usability. We especially liked the way in which we could edit documents using this program, as all too often these applications have a 'look but don't touch' ethos about them.
There's a PDF viewer on board as well, meaning that pretty much any kind of document is covered should you want to do a bit of remote office working, although we'd probably suggest you look at the horror of Windows Mobile if the 'office on the move' lifestyle is more your thing.
Twitter is obviously inbuilt to the phone through the 'Peep' application, which doubles as a widget that streams new Tweets through to the phone, and works quite nicely (although it does take a while to update).
However, the fact that the phone notified you a Tweet had appeared meant our notifications bar was going ten to the dozen, and we swiftly dug down through a few menus to turn that specific option off.
We downloaded as many (free) applications as we could, and these are the pick of what we found:
Basically an Android version of the BBC iPlayer, this is a watered down version of the mobile application we've seen on the likes of the Nokia N97 and the Sony Ericsson W995.
It allows streaming of all the programmes available on the normal service, although at times the quality is so low we couldn't help but wonder whether the shows were recorded on somebody's video player and streamed over the internet.
You remember Tron? The film with all the wacky effects? That bit with the motorbikes where they had to cut each other off to win? Well, fuse that with Snake and imagine instead of steering you use a trackball, then you're most of the way there. Only one word for this application: awesome. OK, and another two: really difficult.
This is so obvious it could be endorsed by Ronseal. But there's a lack of such an application on the HTC Hero, so we'd advise something like this if you want to actually find something you might have left stored on your microSD card.
Super Mario sounds and ringtones
Is it properly licensed? We don't know. But at the end of the day there's an application that lets you use the '1up' extra life sound effect as a ringtone, and pleasure your mates aurally with the sound of Mario jumping. It's a no-brainer.
Of course, there are thousands more Applications available... we just a) didn't want to pay for them and b) couldn't be bothered to look at ALL of them.