While most of America was sleeping or just getting to bed, HTC through a press event in Barcelona to announce 5 new phones and the HTC Flyer tablet. Two of those phones, the Cha Cha (Slide) and the Salsa (and chips) were the two new devices with the context aware Facebook buttons. These two unique devices (with funny names) feature Facebook, on top of Sense on top of Android (2.3 or maybe 2.4 it’s a mystery).
An AT&T spokesperson told All Things Digital/Mobilized editor Ina Fried (@inafried) that although they may not be the exact two models shown above,
“In the U.S., AT&T and HTC are exclusively bringing this unique user experience to the market later this year,”
Starting with an aggressive rollout of Android 4G devices at CES this year AT&T has said they will bring out at least a dozen Android devices. AT&T lost their iPhone exclusivity on February 10th 2011 when Verizon began shipping and selling the iPhone 4. So far AT&T’s 2011 Android offerings have far surpassed the Android phones they sold last yest.
HTC’s John Wang (Part of this mornings Wang Chou show, everybody have fun tonight) highlighted some of Facebook’s key facts. Wang reiterated that Facebook has 500 million users. Of those 500 million users 200 million use their smart phone to check Facebook at sometime during the day. Wang even broke it down further to say that in the 18-34 segment more than half of those folks check their Facebook on their smartphone the minute they open their eyes in the morning. That’s why this deep Facebook integration is relevant in 2011.
Appearing by video Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also spoke more about deep Facebook integration and again denied they were going to release any kind of Facebook branded phone. The Facebook button on the Salsa and Merengue Cha-Cha is context aware. What this means is the button reacts based on the application you have open or what you are doing. If you are taking a picture for instance the Facebook button will take you to an upload screen for the photo, and then immediately let you tag it. If you are listening to music the Facebook button will put what you’re listening to in your status. If you long press and you’re in your favorite restaurant, if it’s a “Facebook Place” it will automatically check you in.
Although they weren’t called MySpace phones, failed wireless venture “Helio” was known for it’s deep integration to MySpace which was eventually purchased, and folded into Sprint as Facebook began to eclipse Myspace in users.
We should see the first incarnations of Facebook button phones hit AT&T shelves in the early summer. No word on how many G’s yet or anything else at this time.