HTC buddies up with Facebook for two social-networking phones

After denying early reports, HTC and Facebook reveal two Android smartphones, the HTC ChaCha and Salsa, built around the popular social networking site.

HTC ChaCha
HTC ChaCha HTC

BARCELONA, Spain--The rumors of a Facebook phone have been floating around for a while, but it was only recently that HTC's name came into the mix and, even then, Facebook once again denied the existence of any such product. Well, turns out the company wasn't being completely honest.

Today at Mobile World Congress, HTC unveiled two new smartphones that will feature dedicated Facebook buttons for easy access to the popular social-networking site. The HTC ChaCha and the HTC Salsa (yes, those are the names) each have a Facebook button on the bottom, which when pressed will let you update your status, upload photos, check into places, share news articles, and more.

In addition, the button is context-aware so it will pulse lightly if the phone thinks there's an opportunity to share something on Facebook. For example, if you take a photo, the button will light up as a gentle reminder that you can upload and share that image with your Facebook friends.

Another example given by HTC is if you're using the music application and want to let the world know what you're listening to, you can simply press the button and the phone will automatically identify what song you're listening to and share it on Facebook.

HTC Salsa
HTC Salsa HTC

The ChaCha and Salsa are truly for the Facebook diehard, as the service is integrated into all parts of the phone. When a call comes in from a contact, his or her status update will be displayed on screen, and there will be new Facebook-branded widgets to plaster all over your home screens.

As for the devices themselves, the HTC ChaCha features a full QWERTY keyboard and a 2.6-inch, 480x320-pixel-resolution touch screen, while the Salsa is an all-touch smartphone, with a 3.4-inch, 480x320-pixel-resolution display.

Both smartphones will run Android 2.4 Android 2.3.3 (not Android 2.4 as reported in an earlier press release) and have back-facing 5-megapixel cameras and front-facing VGA cameras for video calls.

Both handsets are expected to ship in major European and Asian markets in the second quarter of the year and will be available in the U.S. later this year as an AT&T exclusive. Pricing, however, was not announced at this time.

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About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

 

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