HTC adds Facebook phones, updates existing models

HTC has also added some new features and an S to the name of its Incredible, Desire and Wildfire smartphones

High Tech Computer (HTC) released five new Android-based devices, including two phones with a dedicated Facebook button, the Salsa and the ChaCha, at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday. It also unveiled its Flyer tablet.

HTC's Facebook phones follow on the heels of two launched by INQ before Mobile World Congress: the Android-based INQ Cloud Touch and INQ Cloud Q, which both have tight Facebook integration.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent a video message to HTC's news conference to say users can expect many more phones with much deeper integration with Facebook to arrive this year.

The Salsa and the ChaCha will make it easier to use Facebook while on the go. For example, when users have taken a picture they can push the Facebook button, which is located at the bottom of the device, to automatically upload the image. The same can be done with songs and other types of information users may want to share with their Facebook contacts. The button will light up whenever there is an opportunity for users to share content or updates.

Other features include the ability to view a friend's latest status and photos on the dialer screen when you make a call. The updates are also displayed when receiving a call from a Facebook friend, according to HTC.

The ChaCha has a 2.6-inch screen and a QWERTY keyboard, which will help HTC compete with BlackBerry for the youth market, according to CCS Insight. The Salsa has a 3.4-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera, and both phones run Android 2.3. They will be available customers in Europe and Asian during the second quarter. In the U.S., AT&T will have an exclusive deal to launch the phones later this year. Pricing was not announced.

HTC's Flyer, unveiled at the show, is a 7-inch Android tablet with a 5 megapixel autofocus camera on the back, and a 1.3 megapixel one on the front. The tablet has 32GB of storage and can connect to 3G networks at up to 5.76Mbps.

The company also launched the HTC Desire S, Wildfire S and Incredible S, all upgrades of its existing models.

The Desire S has been made out of a solid piece of aluminium, and is equipped with a 3.7-inch screen. The smartphone offers HD recording and integrated video chat. More memory and a processor at 1.2GHz will make it run faster than the predecessor, according to HTC

The Wildfire S is the company's "mass market smartphone", vendor speak for a lower cost product. Its 3.2-inch screen has twice as many pixels as the existing model.

The Incredible S has a Super LCD 4-inch screen and surround sound, and an 8-megapixel camera that can record video in HD.

HTC Incredible S will start shipping in Europe in March. The HTC Desire S, HTC Wildfire S will be available to consumers across major European and Asian markets during the second quarter. Pricing was not announced.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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