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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

February 15, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Mobile World: Trying out HTC’s first tablet and Facebook phones

BARCELONA, Spain — Taiwanese phone maker HTC announced a slew of new mobile devices Tuesday, including its first tablet running Google’s Android operating system. The company also showed five new smartphones, including two Facebook phones that are optimized to share stuff on the social network.

Check out the details about each new device here.

I tried out the new HTC devices at Mobile World Congress. The two new Facebook phones, Cha Cha and Salsa, were not ready; the software is not final, so HTC was not showing off the platform. Each phone has a dedicated Facebook button on the front that glows whenever the owner alights on something shareable on the phone, such as photos.

Is former Microsoft executive Robbie Bach now consulting for HTC? Because these phones remind me a lot of the Microsoft Kin, the phone built for updating social networks that the company shut down shortly after launching last year.

HTC’s first tablet, the Flyer, brings back the stylus. Microsoft for years has been building an operating system to work with styluses in the Tablet PC, but the mobile market seems to have forgotten about them with the success of the finger-friendly iPhone and iPad. As Microsoft researcher Bill Buxton said last year, “Picasso used a paintbrush for a reason.” HTC’s device, however, runs Google’s Android 2.4 Gingerbread instead of Windows Tablet PC.

The Flyer’s pen can be used to draw on the screen, annotate documents and websites and create notes. Unlike Microsoft’s Tablet PC, it does not have handwriting recognition so you cannot convert notes to, say, text to send in an e-mail. You could however, save it as an image file.

Here is video of a demo of the Flyer.

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”790721542001″][/do]

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