We just got a tip that the phone pictured in Eric Schmidt’s hands is actually Verizon’s version of the HTC Hero and it will be called the HTC Hero (not confirmed). As you can see, there’s a couple hardware modifications and one big one is that the buttons below the screen are, as we’re told, not physical, but touch-sensitive buttons. Look for it to drop in November on Big Red.

UPDATE: We’ve doubled confirmed this — check for the HTC Hero (or a different name) in November on Verizon! P.S. We have been told “It’s awesome.”