Feb 15th, 2011

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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