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HTC Launches Two Facebook Phones

David Gilbert

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HTC Launches Two Facebook Phones [Updated]

Mark Zuckerberg categorically told us last year that Facebook was not working on a phone and it seems as if he was telling the truth. There will be no single Facebook phone but a series of phones with Facebook deeply integrated into them such as the two INQ launched last week .

Last month it was reported that HTC was going to bring us a Facebook phone and here we are at Mobile World Congress with not one but two Facebook phones from the Taiwanese giant, the ChaCha and the Salsa. There is no real point getting into the ridiculousness of the names of these phones and lets just jump straight in and look at what these phones are all about. While Facebook will be deeply integrated into the Android Gingerbread UI the handsets will ship with, it is the physical Facebook button on the front of each of these devices, which will stand out the most.

The little blue button is context-aware and gently pulses with light whenever there is an opportunity to share content or updates through Facebook. With a single press of the button, you can update your status, upload a photo, share a Website, post what song you are listening to, ‘check in’ to a location and more. For example, you can take a photograph of friends on your phone and upload it instantly to Facebook by simply pressing the button. Or let your friends know what song you’re listening to by pressing the button while listening to music on the phone. The track is automatically identified and shared on Facebook.

Looking at the handsets themselves, the ChaCha has a full portrait QWERTY keyboard underneath a 2.6in HVGA capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 480 x 320. The design of the phone sees a unique tilt design to make it easier to type and view the screen according to HTC at least. The ChaCha has a rear 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash as well as a VGA front-facing camera for video calling. The ChaCha (as well as the Salsa) will be powered by a Qualcomm 7227 processor running at 600MHz.

The Salsa has an all touchscreen form factor but still retains the physical Facebook button on the bottom of the handset. The 3.4in display has a resolution of 480 x 320 and the Salsa boasts the same camera configuration as the ChaCha. We had a chance to have a brief look at the Salsa last week and it looked pretty nice without wowing us completely. We didn’t get a chance to play with the Facebook integration with Android and it is whether or not this is implemented properly that will decide if the ChaCha and Salsa are a success.

HTC told us that it had been working closely with Facebook on how the phone works and it saw it as a global product, which will give Facebook a chance to increase penetration in markets it traditionally doesn't get into. Both handsets are slated for launch at the end of Q2 and there is no word on pricing for either handset.

Update: Mark Zuckerberg just stuck his head into the HTC announcement in Barcelona (virtually anyway) and while talking about he ChaCha and Salsa informed those present that there would be a lot more Facebook phones to come in 2011: "You can expect dozens of phones with deeper integration than ever before."

Stewart

February 15, 2011, 2:27 pm

Oh good, a hard button to add to the banal content that is found on Fcaebook. A button to press so that I can tell the world what song I am listening to - please! Is there a button I can press to tell the world I'm scratching my arse?


Surely the plethora of Facebook and social media apps can do this if you want to.


HTC should be concentrating on their hardware, not buttering up to the likes of Facebook.


An underwhelming 2011 MWC from HTC.

GoldenGuy

February 15, 2011, 7:15 pm

Don't care if it has 120GB, a Core i7 and can be scrunched into a ball - I'm not walking into a shop asking for a "ChaCha". (Or ordering one online, on principle.) It's the phone equivalent of walking into McDonald's and having to say the words "Big Tasty" in front of people.

aidanpower

February 16, 2011, 7:58 am

I'd have though that Facebook was already pretty deeply integrated into HTC Sense and well serviced by Android's "Share" function. Why are we adding buttons to these handsets, shouldn't we be looking at removing them?





I don't see any value in that button that a standard notification light can't offer. And the design is brutal, like they just tacked the button on, why not integrate it into the four existing hard buttons?

GoldenGuy

February 17, 2011, 12:34 am

@ aidan





If I read the stories correctly, I think they've now started embedding Facebook software directly into the *SIM card*. I don't currently have anything to do with Facebook, but I don't feel particularly secure having a social networking empire that close to phone records and contact information. Six degrees of separation and all that.

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