HTC unveiled its Hero smartphone earlier this week, but the highlight of the launch was not so much the device itself as it was the custom Android interface it ran. Nicknamed Sense, the new interface brings added capabilities such as Flash support, an expanded Home screen with unique HTC widgets and tighter integration with social-networking tools like Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, due to licensing restrictions, it won’t be heading to any Google-branded phones like T-Mobile’s G1 and myTouch 3G.

Well, at least not officially. A home-brewed version of Sense has already been leaked onto the web, allowing users of the HTC Magic, Dream and T-Mobile G1 to unofficially upgrade their phones. The ROM apparently originated at HTC and was modified by two Italian hackers to work on the older devices.

Aside from the nice graphics there are a number of glitches to be found, however, like non-compatibility with auto-screen rotate and apparently Wi-Fi and Bluetooth don't work at the moment. Flash functionality and overall performance seems a bit laggy on the G1, too.

Needless to say, most users are better off keeping their current Android installation, but the curious types can still head to the Android HD Blog (translated) for instructions on how to get the new interface up and running on their device. You can also check out a hands-on video with HTC’s Sense hacked onto the G1 after the jump.