Consumers waiting for a Facebook phone will see one as early as tomorrow, July 17. But it won’t come from Facebook itself. Instead, the Cha Cha smartphone with a dedicated Facebook button that HTC showed off in February finally arrives on AT&T’s network as the aptly named HTC Status. The Google Android handset has meager hardware specifications when compared to higher-end handsets, but it makes it easy to share photos, videos, songs, websites and more on Facebook with the touch of a button.
The $49 HTC Status pairs a small, 2.6-inch, 480×320 resolution touchscreen with a hardware keyboard for fast typing. The 600 MHz processor and 512 MB of memory won’t set any speed records; however, the Status does include two video cameras, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G connectivity and GPS, so it’s not lacking any major features.
At this price, it’s sure to appeal to the crowd that uses a feature phone to access Facebook, email and the web. My only concern would be, If Facebook makes major changes to its service, what happens to this Facebook phone? HTC and AT&T could have to create a software update in that case, and very little in the wireless industry happens fast.
Actually, a new wireless product is pretty quick: the camera on the myTouch 4G Slide. This Android 2.3.4 handset is expected out by the end of the month for $199.99, and T-Mobile sent me one for review. Yes, the 1.2 dual-core processor keeps this phone moving along quickly, but I may be more impressed by the 8-megapixel camera.
A new BurstMode feature captures five photos in immediate succession, perfect for sporting events or any other action-packed scenario. The camera also has a “zero shutter lag” function that speeds up the photo-taking process. A wide aperture (f/2.2) helps for low-light conditions, and the smartphone supports wide, panoramic picture-taking through an option called SweepShot.
On the tablet front, no new Android slates appeared this week, but an old favorite resurfaced: the Nook Color eReader. No, that’s not a typo: At $249, the Nook Color is becoming a favorite of many who want an inexpensive Android tablet that’s still a capable little device.
It’s relatively easy enough for anyone who’s tech-savvy to root the color eReader and install custom Android software on the Nook Color. But some enterprising folks have made the process as simple as inserting a microSD memory card into the Nook Color and powering it on. The card can be purchased for as low as $35 and comes pre-installed with software both for use as an Android tablet or as a standard Nook Color ebook reader.