First up, the highly anticipated HTC Hero is in Android Central's house, and Casey gives us a look at the decidedly non-Google Android phone and SenseUI, something closer akin to HTC's previous Windows Mobile powered TouchFLO3D. And we think he likes it:

We believe that you’ll be stunned at how easy it is to use and how polished it all works. If you’re looking from the myTouch 3G or T-Mobile G1, you can’t help but be jealous of the Hero. The UI offers a great experience while still maintaining the same lovely Android and even adds a better browser! We have no hesitation in saying that the HTC Hero is the best Android phone available and after using HTC Sense, will be for quite some time.

Next up, I don't think we've ever mentioned "Motorola" and "competition" to the iPhone in the same paragraph before, but with the introduction of the CLIQ, their first device running Google's Android OS, do we have to stop chuckling at the mere concept?

Maybe. We often say (okay, Chad often says) that Apple designed the iPhone for RAZR users -- the first dead-simple, consumer-friendly smartphone. Well Moto built the RAZR, and now they've built MOTOBLUR, a new, hyper-social network focused new layer on top of Android designed to hook the heart of the Twitter/FaceBook generation (yes, Icebike, I campout firmly in the former). And they've put it on a G1/Dream-style horizontal slider.

Have they succeeded? Engadget says:

Let's be very clear: though it fares pretty competitively against the aging crop of Google-powered devices on the market today, the CLIQ isn't the Android phone to end all Android phones. Then again, it's not supposed to be -- at least, we hope it isn't -- because a smallish HVGA display and an overworked, outmatched MSM7201A core aren't going to win any believers that haven't already been won over by HTC's stable. What the CLIQ does do, though, is lay the groundwork for something better -- a Motorola that doesn't cause eyes to roll, a Motorola that makes aspirational phones that people can want to own again.

One thing's clear, however. The competition is focusing on the social networks, something Apple's never been historically good at, and something they may still not quite understand. Is it an achilles heel for the iPhone? Not yet, especially not with the App Store. But there's no MOTOBLUR or widgets or Synergy in the App Store yet, and likely there won't be given SDK restrictions. So, Apple, howsabout 4.0?