Some days ago HTC apologised for the delay of the development of the new Android 2.1 firmware with HTC Sense for Hero, last official news is that HTC will release the new official firmware on June.
What I would like to say to all HTC users is to root anyway your Hero and install a custom ROM, they are now pretty stable and fully working; if you are not confortable with Eclair you can install Modaco cutom ROM based on HTC 1.5 that is faster than the official one.
Currently, absolutely IMHO, the best Eclair custom ROM is VillainRom, I changed many ROMs in the last few month, without any significant data loss or problem.
You can download latest version at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=654030.
If you have no rooted HTC Hero before, follow my two blogs in order to root and update the recovery manager:
Happy Android everyone!!!!!