Android Phone Tips
|Android Phone Tips|
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. Having Facebook sharing one click away enables messages and phone content to be uploaded to the network and sent directly to connected friends.
Both devices run Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ with HTC’s Sense UI. 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. 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.
Both the HTC ChaCha and the Salsa naturally feature heavy Facebook integration. Users can also view Facebook statuses and photos on the dialler when making and receiving calls, and both phones include a dedicated Facebook chat widget that is built into HTC's Sense user interface.
HTC says the ChaCha and Salsa phones will target a younger, teenage audience, or far more loosely "anyone who uses Facebook". The dedicated Facebook button on the ChaCha and Salsa models gives HTC another unique feature, albeit a minor one.
Both the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa phones have been priced with a younger audience in mind — the devices are available for $0 upfront on Vodafone's $29 cap over 24 months, or for $0 upfront on the $45 infinite plan over 24 months. The $29 Vodafone cap provides $180 worth of calls and text, along with 200MB of data and unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone and 3 standard voice calls within Australia, while the $45 infinite plan includes unlimited calls and text and 500MB of data per month.
The Cloud Touch has standard entry-level Android specs; its combination of Android 2.2, a 320-by-480 screen and the 600-MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor has been successful on devices like the LG Optimus V for Virgin Mobile. One home screen has giant, immediate links to your Facebook friends, calendar, notifications and Places, as well as highlights from your news feed and a scrolling bar of custom links letting you jump immediately to photo albums, Facebook chat and other apps.
HTC has its Sense UI widgets, which it wants to preserve; the Facebook-centricity of the Status will be pushed off on the little Facebook hardware button. INQ forgoes hardware buttons and instead dissects Facebook into a bunch of widgets, spreading its parts all over the home screen. Facebook calendar and contact integration are predictably excellent. The calendar integrates Facebook events, including the event walls.
I haven't spent any time with the Status yet, but the Cloud Touch looks more focused on consuming Facebook data, while the Status is more focused on sharing. You can share photos and Web pages through Facebook on the Cloud Touch, but it takes up to three clicks (and the option for sharing Web pages is cleverly hidden). On the Status, it's a one-button process.
INQ's phone has some obvious problems. For a country with millions of Facebook users, we're awfully behind on Facebook phones. There are enough Facebook fanatics in the US to support more than one Facebook phone.
By. Android Phone Tips