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HTC unveils phones with Facebook button

Taiwanese smart phone maker HTC unveiled two social networking phone models, with a focus on Facebook access, and introduced its first tablet computer to a crowded marketplace.
Image: HTC Salsa
HTC's Salsa has a dedicated Facebook button below the screen, for a one-touch access right to the social networking site. Another phone, the HTC ChaCha, will have the same feature.HTC
/ Source: Reuters

Taiwanese smart phone maker HTC Tuesday unveiled two social networking phone models, with a focus on Facebook access, and introduced its first tablet computer to a crowded marketplace.

Both the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa feature a dedicated, hard key Facebook button enabling users to post information to their Facebook account with just one keystroke.

“HTC has always understood that different people want different things and the new HTC ChaCha and Salsa offer special new ways to experience Facebook on a mobile device,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

“With more than 500 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become synonymous with the social web and we wanted to create the ultimate socially connected phones with mass market appeal.” 

Mobile is an increasingly important driver of traffic to Facebook, which says 250 million users per month access the social network on mobile devices.

The world's fifth-largest smart phone maker also introduced new versions of its hit models Desire, Wildfire and Incredible at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Spain.

All six new devices will run Google's Android software, which ended the 10-year reign of Nokia's Symbian as the pre-eminent smart phone platform last quarter. All six devices use Qualcomm's chipsets.

"We believe customers want choice; one size does not fit all," said Philip Blair, product director at HTC Europe.

Image: HTC phones, tablet
HTC's Facebook phones, the ChaCha and Salsa, have a Facebook direct-connect button below the screen.

HTC's strong push into smart phones using Google's Android operating system has helped the company to grow market share against bigger rivals like Nokia and Samsung Electronics. It held 9 percent of the global smart phone market in the December quarter, according to research firm IDC.

HTC joined the throng of tablet makers with its Flyer model, which comes with a 7-inch screen and a separate stylus.

According to PRTM Management Consultants before Mobile World Congress, there were 102 tablets either for sale or in development by 64 manufacturers.

HTC positioned the tablet in the premium price category, but said its was ready to sell new social networking phones at keenly competitive price levels.

"We are really trying to for the young and mass market. We will try to be as aggressive as we can," Blair said.

HTC is hoping to replicate the success of smaller vendor INQ Mobile, which has built a business by focusing solely on social networking models.