Facebook Phones: HTC Salsa & HTC ChaCha Preview [VIDEO]

I’ll be honest: I was obsessively pessimistic about the concept of a “Facebook Phone”. Not only does it seems trendy in the most anti-cool way possible, but what’s the point in a hardware button to launch Facebook? It turns out the Facebook buttons does more than just launch Facebook:

Whenever the button lights up, you’re able to share the content currently on your screen to Facebook. Simple, easy, and much more purposeful than a button that launches Facebook. While I use Facebook, I’m not a compulsive Facebooker, so the feature falls flat on a personal note. But on a general note, my obsessively pessimistic attitude has turned around and I can definitely see the market for HTC’s two Facebook phones: the HTC Salsa and HTC ChaCha.

They’re not incredibly powerful phones, but then, being powerful wasn’t the point. Android is powerful enough and the ChaCha and Salsa are lucky to be running 2.3. While the ChaCha has a portrait QWERTY for the text and type happy teen, the Salsa is a mid-range touchscreen only device.

Again, I wouldn’t use this myself, but there is a huge potential for this proposition and I’m sure you can think of a handful of people in your life who would use this. The main hurdle is cool factor. Or anti-cool factor. Will it be embraced or will it fall flat? I guess the target market will make that ultimate decision.

Either way, I’d be curious to know the behind the scenes deals that went down to get this done. It’s clear that the purpose of the Facebook button is to encourage use and sharing with people posting more regularly. Initially I thought the purpose was to help you consume content by telling you when you had new messages, news statuses, friends birthdays and so on. This is much, much different.

But how often do you share stuff on Facebook? I only share things a couple times a week at most, sometimes going weeks at a time without making a peep. I guess that’s the purpose, to encourage a more intimate experience. To make it second nature to snap a pic and post it to Facebook immediately. To constantly remind you, “HEY, SHARE ME!”

But in my opinion, if Facebook continues down too far down this path the danger is they’re just becoming more like Twitter. Part of the reason I like Facebook, and mostly disregard Twitter, is people only post things when they actually have something worthwhile to say. I don’t think my friends are the type to buy a Facebook phone in the first place, but if my statuses/wall start to fill up with comments like “Eating Cereal” and “Look I found a penny!” with accompanying pictures… God help me, I’m gone.

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  • carmendiva

    Rob, I definitely agree with your last paragraph. I am probably one of those people guilty of treating Facebook as twitter…Posting what i’m doing every second of the day and im sure my friends don’t care…This reminds me sort of like the kin and perhaps this is mainly what the kind should have been like and i think this will be a good hit for people my age(18), slightly older or younger than me

  • Manuel

    HTC didn’t take into account Spanish speakers when naming the phone Chacha, otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen it.

    For those interested in why I’m saying this, it sounds very similar to chocho which is a slang that means pussy.

    It’s particularly funny being the MWC in Barcelona.

    About the phone, it falls in a different target market than I am, so no interested at all.

  • meeple

    FB are going to hit saturation point this year. But that’s good because it means its demise isn’t too far away.

    I really hope this F button backfires spectacularly and makes people realise how pointless FB is; hopefully they’ll get so irritated with instant updates from the “friends” who buy this and other phones they will stop using FB and it will slope off and die.

    FB are moving from “cool” (apparently) to “deeply irritating” and once the cool crowd move on, the masses will follow.

    Everything peaks and from then on it’s downhill.

  • chris

    @meeple
    I highly doubt fb will die as you say just because of these phones you sound like an angry teen who updates their fb 24/7 and now has no friends. want a tissue?

  • mindo

    chacha is a spanish dance, so i dont think anyone is gonna think chocho. thats like naming a phone the duck, people might think dick right? No.

  • InspectorGadget80

    Just love the HTC PHONES. I might get one for my lil sisters. And HTC should name one more device called AY CARAMBA

  • timmyjoe42

    @mindo, yea but they both float in water

  • Tony

    “if my statuses/wall start to fill up with comments like “Eating Cereal” and “Look I found a penny!” with accompanying pictures… God help me, I’m gone.”… HAHAHA… that was hilarious.

  • jdog25

    I thought they were never going to make the Salsa since it was leaked in December 2009 as one of there 2010 phones.

  • Keller

    Lol @ Manuel
    And meeple, I hope your right. I have a facebook but the whole company pisses me off

  • ToastnJam

    I spent a week on facebook and that’s how long it took me to realize what a waste of time it was. I had a hundred friend requests within that time frame and 80% of them were from people I didn’t consider my friends. I knew their name from high school or college and that was it. At the same time I found it amusing how people “compete” to get the highest number of “friends”,(to make themselves look or feel important) when it’s all complete bullshit.
    The other factor was: posting on your wall…. I could care less what you kids ate for dinner or where you went on your vacation. I mean seriously. As Rob already pointed out….there are already people posting garbage like “finding a penny” or “eating cereal”!! FB is a complete waste of time and imo is for losers who have no friends in the real world. (but again that’s just my opinon)
    All you have to do is watch the Social Network and see the loser that invented facebook and watch the documentary Catfish to see the type of people ON facebook. I deactivated my acct that same week and I feel SO much better about myself for doing so. Although it was originally made for college kids, it feels more like a virtual grade school with a huge 40+ crowd still reliving their high school glory days.

  • ToastnJam

    Yeah, I see these phones going the way of the kindle.. a novelty device for some and a small surge in sales for the tween crowd.

  • ToastnJam

    typo….meant Kin, not kindle. duh.

  • ari-free

    This phone is like, totally cool. Like I mean, like totally.

  • ari-free

    As long as there are girls in the world, this kind of phone will never go away.

  • j

    Uh… just surprised that I’m the first one to comment on how extremely butt ugly the chacha is! That’s not like HTC. I mean, the thing is completely horrid! Anyone agree?

  • http://twitter.com/LH LH

    > “Part of the reason I like Facebook, and mostly disregard Twitter, is people only post things when they actually have something worthwhile to say.”

    You’re freaking kidding, right?

  • Toast83

    Hey, guess what. I pressed 3 buttons on my Galaxy Tab and shared this on fb. That was exhausting… I think the chacha might be my next phone….

  • Phone Dog

    @j Ditto the sentiment this phone is horrendous!

  • Robort

    @toastnjam if you deactivated your account. you still have a facebook.