HTC unveils ChaCha and Salsa Facebook phones

The big rumour at the latter part of 2010 was the arrival of a Facebook phone, something continually denied by Facebook itself. However, the company did acknowledge that HTC was working with the public APIs (application programme interfaces) in order to create something Facebook-friendly. The end result has now been announced as the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa.

Essentially, they are HTC smartphones, complete with the HTC Sense interface. But if you love Facebook, it's always just a click away with either handset: '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.'

The Facebook button on HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa is apparently 'context-aware', gently pulsing with light whenever there is an opportunity to share content or updates through Facebook. In this day and age, we're guessing that's pretty much all the time. 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. Clever stuff, although your mates might get a bit annoyed with all those updates after a few weeks. Just a thought.

The new devices feature Android Gingerbread (2.3) as well as the latest iteration of HTC Sense to integrate Facebook throughout HTC's UI. So, for example, when you make a phone call, the dialling 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. Throw in easy access to Facebook Chat and Messages on your phone, as well as Facebook Messages and Conversations being integrated into your text and email inboxes and you are pretty much living the Facebook dream.

In terms of specifics for each handset, the HTC ChaCha is the one with the QWERTY keyboard, as well as offering up a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus and LED flash, along with a VGA front-facing camera for calls. There's also a 2.6-inch, 480 x 320 resolution landscape touch screen, 600 MHz processor, 512MB of memory and plenty of storage via microSD memory card.

Alternatively, opt for the more traditional looks of the HTC Salsa. It's the same deep integration with Facebook, but this time offering up a larger 3.4-inch, 480 x 320 resolution touch display, along with a 5-megapixel camera, VGA forward-facing camera for video calling and like the ChaCha, a 600 MHz processor, 512MB of memory and the option to boost storage via microSD memory card,

The HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa smartphones will be available across Europe in late spring / early summer. Orange and Vodafone has already announced that they will be shipping the HTC ChaCha, but expect other networks to announce availability in the next few weeks.

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