Back in mid-December, I started thinking seriously about upgrading my cellphone from the Blackberry 8073e to … something else.

I’ve had a company-issued iPhone for a year or so, and it is cool, no doubt. But the AT&T service in my home doesn’t work — the signal is too weak for some reason. So switching to AT&T isn’t an option for me.

Sticking with my existing carrier, Sprint, my main contenders then became the HTC Hero and Blackberry Tour. Both looked like worthy smartphone upgrades. I had used the Blackberry OS for years, and knew what to expect there. But this hot, new Google OS, Android, has some buzz. And since I’m a heavy Google Apps user, the idea of automatically syncing with all the data and e-mail I have on Google already seemed like a dream.

After several weeks of mulling my options, I took the plunge and got a HTC Hero.

After living with the Hero for two days, I have to say I like the new phone quite a lot. I’m happily surprised that most of the apps I used heavily on the iPhone are also available on Android, and if an app isn’t available then there is something very similar or even better out there. (One app that I like a lot on the iPhone is the New York Times app, but on Android there is a USA Today app that is just fantastic!)

I do wish the Hero screen was larger. The phone feels good in the hand, and everything looks just beautiful. But this phone is less capable as a reader than the iPhone is. Otherwise, the HTC Hero is a real win.