Remember those rumors about a Facebook phone?
It turns out HTC and Facebook spent several years developing two of them that are being announced today in Barcelona.
HTC worked with Facebook to integrate the social network into the phones, adding a dedicated Facebook key with the “F” logo that pulsates when you’re doing something shareable on the phone.
When taking pictures, you can press F to upload them to Facebook, for instance, or when using Google Maps, you can press it to share your location.
“HTC has brought Facebook to these two new devices in an innovative way enabling people to connect and share easily whenever they want, wherever they are,” Henri Moissinac, head of Facebook’s mobile business, said in the release.
Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC North America in Bellevue, said Facebook’s logo appears on the special key but “we will not brand this as the Facebook phone or anything.”
Mackenzie said the “ChaCha” model with a 2.6-inch touchscreen and exposed keyboard will compete with the BlackBerry Curve.
The second model is a touchscreen-only phone called the Salsa, with a 3.4-inch screen.
They’ll be available in the second quarter, at prices to be announced later.
UPDATE: AT&T is going to carry the phones, perhaps exclusively, according to Ina Fried.
Both are based on version 2.4 of Google’s Android software and have Facebook integrated into the HTC Sense interface.
When calling or receiving a call from a Facebook friend, the software displays friends’ latest status and photos and alerts you if their birthday is coming up.
HTC’s also announcing a tablet computer, the “Flyer,” that will go on sale in the second quarter. It’s intended to be a high-end device, with an aluminum housing, a 7-inch diagonal touchscreen, a 1.5 gigahertz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 32 gigabytes of RAM and HSPA+ wireless capability.
It’s launching with Android 2.4 but will be upgradeable to the upcoming “Honeycomb” version of Android that’s optimized for tablets.
HTC designed a new version of its Sense interface for the larger screen of a tablet, with a carousel for navigating icons and widgets.
The Flyer also comes with a stylus for taking notes on the device. Mackenzie said this is needed in part because it’s a more polite way to take notes than typing on a tablet or laptop during a meeting.
HTC is playing up the Flyer’s media capabilities. It will feature HTC’s new “Watch” video download service and come preloaded with the OnLive streaming game service, taking advantage of a $40 million investment HTC is making in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup.
The Flyer also has a 5 megapixel camera plus a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for videoconferencing.
The price of the Flyer and bundled services such as OnLive will be announced later, Mackenzie said.
Also being announced is a new version of HTC’s Desire model, with an aluminum unibody design; the Incredible S with a 4-inch screen (up from 3.7-inches on the previous Incredible); and a lower-end Android phone called the Wildfire S that’s intended to be a more affordable smartphone sold for $100 or less by wireless carriers.
The Desire S, the Incredible S and the Wildfire S in four flavors: