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HTC has rethought the notion of calling its Facebook-oriented phone ChaCha, preferring instead to update the name to Status when it goes on sale at AT&T (NYSE: T). The phone, with a dedicated button that takes you straight to Facebook, still doesn’t have a price tag or a launch date but looks to be just around the corner: HTC said in February it would be out by the end of the second quarter, which is pretty much now.
The Status is an interesting experiment in mobile: will people want a phone geared mostly around a single service? True, the Status is an Android phone with a QWERTY-style keyboard that actually looks a lot like a BlackBerry, meaning you’ll be able to do way more with it than browse the status updates of your friends. But with a prominent button reserved just for Facebook, HTC and AT&T are betting they can sell this phone to the Facebook-obsessed who can’t take the time to navigate to the Android application.
Pricing will be essential for a device like this, given that it’s probably a younger generation that would be most interested in this type of phone. That’s why it’s a little surprising that HTC didn’t say much in a Facebook page created for the phone beyond what it outlined at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.
This will be the first of the so-called “Facebook phones,” which caused quite a stir last year when talk of integrating Facebook into Android phones spurred speculation that Facebook was actually going to release its own phone. Turns out Facebook just wanted to make its own services more prominent on other phones.