Hands-off with the HTC ChaCha

The HTC ChaCha is the Taiwanese company’s approach to a QWERTY Facebook phone. Of course, it shouldn’t be called a Facebook phone, but we know that generic term will stick to the four Facebook-centric devices we’ve seen launched at Mobile World Congress.

Unveiled on Tuesday in Barcelona, HTC were being guarded with the new device, not letting journalists play with it because the software isn’t finished yet. So this is a hands-off hands-on, as it was lovingly modelled by a member of the HTC demo team.

Although we’ve seen the ChaCha in the flesh and demoed by video during the press conference, we still know very little about the device. The ChaCha is distinct for a number of reasons, beyond the inclusion of a Facebook button, because it has a form factor we haven’t seen for a while from HTC, and with it, a tailored version of HTC Sense.

As far as the Facebook functions go, that Facebook button pulses, or breathes, letting you know that it is ready to get social. In a previous preview session we tested the Facebook button on the HTC Salsa, and found it happily picked up a URL from a website we were on and took it over to a status update window ready to post. 

Basically, it detects when you have content to share and takes the appropriate action. A long press (which we also tested previously on the HTC Salsa) opened up Facebook Places ready to let you checkin.

The Facebook functions appear to work closely with HTC’s FriendStream app, so we noticed that you’d be able to update Twitter as well as Facebook. This is a standard feature of HTC Sense we’ve seen before. In a sense, much of the functionality of the HTC ChaCha builds on existing features, like photo sharing. 

There is also an updated clock widget, incorporating your Facebook feed, so you’ll be able to get a nibble of Facebook at a glance. 

Aside from Facebook we’re interested to see how HTC Sense operates in this touch type form factor. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until we get the HTC ChaCha in for a full review to discover all its secrets.



>