Ready for a 'Facebook phone'? AT&T unveils the HTC Status

HTC Status promises to be the first phone with deep social network integration. This 'Facebook phone' will drop in mid-July on AT&T.

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You can get Facebook updates on just about any smart phone – so why is the blogosphere making such a big deal about the HTC Status? It’s the only US phone (so far) with Facebook integration so deep, it actually includes a physical, dedicated Facebook “share” button. HTC announced on Wednesday the device’s impending arrival on the AT&T network – appropriately enough, unveiling the phone on Facebook.

For social-networking mavens, the level of connectivity here could be awfully tempting. Pressing that little blue button will let you instantly post to your Facebook wall, and HTC says the phone will also include other social features to take advantage of having a dedicated Facebook button right there in the phone’s bezel.

For example, a long press of the Facebook button will let you check-in at your current location through Facebook Places. The button glows when you’re listening to music, presumably to entice you to share information about the song with your social circle. The phone will also give users the ability to post pictures automatically as they’re being taken. (In what social situations is it wise to use this feature? That’s a question HTC is evidently leaving up to the users.)

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It’s also worth pointing out that Facebook chat, a feature missing from the Facebook app on many phones, is included on the Status, as is a home-screen widget that activates when you receive a call, displaying the caller’s Facebook status and – if his or her birthday lands that week – a reminder that the date is coming up.

The phone will be available sometime in mid-July, although HTC didn’t mention pricing or a specific launch date. The Status will run on Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” with HTC’s Sense UI overlaid, and will sport a 2.6-inch touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel camera, and VGA front-facing camera for video chat.

For some corners of the Internet, the Sense’s arrival is already old news. The phone is available in the UK as the HTC ChaCha, sporting the same specs and Facebook integration. Tech rumors site Boy Genius Report predicted that the phone’s stateside launch almost a week ago, although they noted at the time that the ChaCha’s other British alter-ego, the Salsa, “won’t be hitting AT&T in the near future, if at all.”

What do you think about the Status? Will Facebook’s pervasive grip on your social life tempt you to pick one up once they become available? Let us know in the comments section.

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