Facebook may have denied an "official" Facebook Phone was in the works, but they also hinted that HTC was looking at boosting social network support in upcoming devices. Those devices have been revealed at MWC 2011, the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa, which each feature prominent, dedicated Facebook buttons on their fascias.
The HTC ChaCha has a hardware QWERTY keyboard and a 2.6-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen in a candybar form-factor; there's a chin-style kink in the chassis that pushes the keyboard forward slightly. As for the HTC Salsa, that ditches the keyboard in favor of a larger, 3.4-inch HVGA display and a design that HTC tells us is targeted at the "playful youth market". With its harlequin blue boxing around the camera, it'll certainly be an acquired taste.
Both devices offer the same Facebook integration. If you're looking at a picture or listening to a music track you want to share, hitting the Facebook button automatically prompts an upload to your Facebook account. Pictures can be added to existing or new galleries, tagged with the people in them, be labelled and have different privacy settings added, while music is listed as "now playing" with a link to the track on Amazon.
A long press, meanwhile, opens up Facebook Places, with a streamlined way to log your current position. Facebook calendar events are automatically added to the Android calendar, but they also bring with them the event's wall, any photos, comments, and a list of people attending. Facebook messages are added to the universal inbox, while Facebook Chat is supported, with user-presence shown in the address book.
Most importantly, HTC is targeting an affordable price point with both the ChaCha and Salsa. While the company wouldn't tell us actual figures during a pre-briefing last week, it did say that it expected the two phones to slot in-between the new Wildfire S and Desire S. They've been able to achieve that by opting for a relatively inexpensive 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, though you still get front and rear cameras, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.
Both the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa will go on sale at the end of Q2 2011, with HTC claiming "global interest" in the handsets; we already know Vodafone UK will be offering the ChaCha. Facebook won't be endorsing either device, but HTC was at pains to point out how closely the social network's engineers had worked with their own.
HTC UNVEILS TWO SOCIAL PHONES WITH ONE-TOUCH FACEBOOK® ACCESS
HTC raises the bar for mobile social phones with HTC ChaChaTM and HTC SalsaTM
BARCELONA, SPAIN – Mobile World Congress – February 15, 2011 – HTC Corporation, a global designer of smartphones, today announced two new phones built entirely to be social, combining the simplicity, ease-of-use and depth of HTC SenseTM with the power and connectivity of Facebook®. As part of an extended portfolio of six new HTC Sense-based devices being unveiled at Mobile World Congress, HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa feature a dedicated Facebook® button for one-touch access to the key functions of the Facebook service that are integrated throughout the HTC Sense experience.
“HTC has always understood that different people want different things and the new HTC ChaCha and Salsa offer special new ways to experience Facebook on a mobile device,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “With more than 500 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become synonymous with the social web and we wanted to create the ultimate socially connected phones with mass market appeal.”
“We have worked closely with HTC for several years on bringing Facebook to their devices and HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa are the next stage,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business for Facebook. “HTC has brought Facebook to these two new devices in an innovative way enabling people to connect and share easily whenever they want, wherever they are.”
The Facebook button on HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa is context-aware, gently pulsing 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.
The new devices feature Android 2.4, the latest version, and use the latest iteration of HTC Sense to integrate Facebook throughout the HTC Sense experience. When you make a phone call, the dialer screen displays your friend’s latest status and photos, and even tells you if their birthday is approaching. The same updates are also displayed when you receive a call from a Facebook friend. You can also use your phone’s existing contacts to help you connect with them on Facebook or personalize your handset further with a number of new, Facebook-branded widgets.
The HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa smartphones make it simple to stay in touch with your friends using Facebook Chat and Messages on your phone. Your Facebook messages and conversations are integrated within your phone and appear within your text and email inboxes alongside your regular conversations.
Stay connected with the smartphone for the Facebook generation – HTC ChaCha
The HTC ChaCha smartphone is designed to provide a seamless, social experience by enabling you to stay in touch with your friends anytime, anywhere. The unique tilt design shapes the display and physical QWERTY keyboard so it is easy to view and comfortable to type. Capture special moments in crisp, High-Definition detail or video chat with your friends using the dual cameras, including a 5-megapixel color camera with auto focus and LED flash and a VGA front-facing camera. The ChaCha smartphone also brings the Internet to your fingertips with a 2.6-inch, 480 x 320 resolution landscape touch screen.
Your Facebook friends never felt closer – HTC Salsa
Boasting the same deep Facebook integration as the HTC ChaCha smartphone, the HTC Salsa smartphone provides a fast, high-performance smartphone experience. Capture the moment in high-resolution stills or video with the 5-megapixel camera and immediately share it with friends on the generous 3.4-inch, 480 x 320 resolution touch display. Upload your photos to Facebook at the touch of a button. For face-to-face conversations on the move, the VGA forward-facing camera enables high-quality video calling.
The HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa smartphones will be available to customers globally starting in Q2 2011.