HTC, Vodafone release Android-based 'Facebook phones'

Photo, message and music integration

HTC's Salsa (left) and ChaCha Android phones: available exclusively though Vodafone from 6 July

HTC's Salsa (left) and ChaCha Android phones: available exclusively though Vodafone from 6 July

HTC and Vodafone have launched two news Android-based smartphones, the Salsa and the ChaCha, both with a dedicated Facebook “F button” allowing instant access to the popular social network.

The HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa will be available on Wednesday July, 6 for $0 upfront on the $29 a month cap over 24 months or $0 upfront on the $45 a month “Infinite” plan over 24 months.

The ChaCha will also be available as a prepaid offer for $299 through Vodafone and its dealers.

Having Facebook sharing one click away enables messages and phone content to be uploaded to the network and sent directly to connected friends.

At the Spanish-themed launch event in Sydney, HTC Australia and New Zealand country manager, Ben Hodgson, said there are now some 10 million Facebook accounts in Australia and many people check Facebook with their smartphone before getting out of bed in the morning.

“These innovative, intuitive devices come with a dedicated Facebook share button which enables contextual sharing of all content including status, photos, messages, Web pages, locations, music, and videos with a single push,” Hodgson said.

According to HTC representatives, “the F button” is a permanent feature of the phones and can’t be switched off or modified to do anything else.

Both devices run Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ with HTC’s Sense UI.

When a phone call is placed or received from a Facebook friend, the dialler screen displays the recipient’s latest status and photos, and if their birthday is approaching.

Other Facebook-phone integration examples include letting Facebook friends know what song is now playing by pressing the F button while listening to music on the phone; and Facebook messages and conversations and appear within the message and e-mail inboxes alongside regular conversations.

Ross Parker, general manager of devices and pricing at Vodafone, said the company is looking to offer innovative new products that allow people to engage with their devices in “simple, easy and fun ways”.

Technically, the Salsa is based on the design of the HTC legend, and is touch screen-only. It features a five-megapixel camera, 800MHz processor, 3.4-inch 480x320 display, microSD card slot and weighs 120 grams.

The ChaCha has a QWERTY keyboard and a 2.6-inch touch screen with 480x320 resolution. Its hardware specs are much the same as the Salsa.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

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