HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa Facebook Phones debut

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HTC has announced a pair of Facebook phones at MWC 2011, two affordable Android devices with a focus on social networking. The first of the pair is the HTC ChaCha, a physical QWERTY handset paired with a 2.6-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen, followed by the HTC Salsa, an all-touch version with a 3.4-inch touchscreen. Both the ChaCha and Salsa have a dedicated Facebook button, hard-coded to instantly share content like photos, music links or Facebook Places location links.

Hit the Facebook key when you’re looking at a photo, for instance, and the ChaCha and Salsa will automatically offer to upload it. You can tag people in the image, add comments, choose whether to create a new gallery or add it to an existing photo collection, and even define privacy settings. Press the Facebook button while listening to music, meanwhile, and the currently playing track will be listed on your wall along with an Amazon link to preview and purchase it. A long press of the Facebook key pulls up Facebook Places, again with various privacy options attached. It’s also worth noting that, because Sense is the engine behind all this, you can also share simultaneously with Twitter if you choose to.
The Android calendar is automatically populated with Facebook events, but HTC has also added further detail such as comments and attendees for each event. The related wall and photos are also attached. Facebook messages are included in the universal inbox, and Facebook Chat is supported with user presence indicated in the Android address book. HTC is quick to point out that this isn’t an exclusive Facebook endorsed device – there will be other Facebook-centric handsets from other manufacturers, for instance – but that the two companies have worked closely to make sure the experience lives up to expectations.
It’s all built on top of Android 2.4 Gingerbread and a new version of HTC Sense, which the company had to modify to suit the relatively small, pixel-dense display of the ChaCha. The usual row of Android buttons are touch-sensitive keys under the screen, and there’s a chin-like kink in the phone that angles the keyboard out a little. Physically, the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa are based on a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, 512MB of both RAM and ROM, and has both 5-megapixel front and VGA rear cameras, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. While the ChaCha gets its physical keyboard, the HTC Salsa is targeted more clearly at what the company describes as the “playful youth market”; that adds up to a harlequin collection of colors around the camera on the back, and a generally more eye-catching design.
The relatively slow processor means that HTC can keep the price down, and that means the ChaCha and Salsa should actually launch in-between the Wildfire S and Desire S in terms of cost. Exact pricing is yet to be confirmed, though HTC says operator interest worldwide has been strong ahead of the expected launch at the end of Q2 2011. We already know that Vodafone UK has signed up to the ChaCha at least, and we imagine they won’t be alone as Facebook mobile fever catches on.

1 comment:

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