As you might expect, Taiwan's HTC didn't just bring a new tablet to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. A brood of five new phones also managed to break away from the nest, including a couple with one-touch Facebook access. The company's popular Desire, Wildfire and Incredible models also get a new lease on life.
These days, being social seems to have more to do with frequently updating an online profile than just going out with your mates. Not one to miss an opportunity, HTC has revealed a couple of new smartphones that are said to combine "the simplicity, ease-of-use and depth of HTC Sense with the power and connectivity of Facebook."
The HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa both sport a dedicated, context-aware Facebook button for one-touch access to the main features of the social networking portal. Whenever an opportunity to share content presents itself on the phone, such as when you snap a new photo or if you're listening to a new track on the media player, the Facebook button starts pulsing with light.
They both run on Android 2.3.3 and include the latest version of the company's user-focused Sense experience. When a phone call is made to or received from a known contact, the friend's Facebook status and recent photo additions are displayed on the screen. The setup will even send you reminders about upcoming birthdays, and a number of new Facebook widgets have been created to further enhance the functionality.
If you prefer a physical keyboard, then the quad-band HTC ChaCha is no doubt going to be your choice. Above the keyboard is a 2.6-inch, 480 x 320 resolution landscape-oriented touchscreen display. There's also a front-facing VGA-quality webcam, and a 5 megapixel snapper with autofocus and LED flash to the rear.
The HTC Salsa Android phone has a 600MHz processor, Bluetooth 3.0 and a battery which offers up to 540 minutes of talk time and 530 hours on standby. It also features a 5 megapixel camera and VGA webcam, plus it sports a 3.4-inch, 480 x 320 resolution touchscreen display, but no physical keyboard.
Both of these smartphones will be available throughout Europe and Asia during Q2 and will reach the U.S. later in the year on AT&T.; Pricing will depend on carrier contracts.
A triplet of model updates
New versions of the company's Desire, Wildfire and Incredible smartphones also broke cover at Mobile World Congress. The Desire S is sculpted out of a single block of aluminum and is powered by Qualcomm's new 1GHz Snapdragon MSM8255 processor. The HD-capable, quad-band smartphone has a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, a VGA webcam, a 3.7-inch WVGA touchscreen display and Bluetooth 2.1 with FTP/OPP.
At 3.98 inches long and 2.33 inch wide (10.13 x 5.94 cm), the Wildfire S is one of HTC's smallest phones, but still manages to squeeze in a 3.2-inch HVGA display. It's powered by a 600MHz processor and benefits from 3G, GPRS, EDGE and Wi-Fi connectivity. There's a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, microSD expansion and access to the Android Market.
The designers of the Incredible S have opted to contour the smartphone's body to accentuate the shapes of the internal components, which adds some uniqueness to the looks of this model. The device has a 4-inch, 480 x 800 resolution WVGA Super-LCD display, stereo speakers, a webcam to the front and an 8 megapixel camera with dual flash to the rear. Content sharing is also made a touch easier with DNLA compliance that allows video, photo and music content to be sent direct to compatible equipment, such as a TV.
HTC says that these three smartphones will also head to Europe and Asia during Q2, but there's no mention of U.S. availability.