Today AT&T officially announced the HTC Status, aka the “Facebook phone” thanks to its deep integration with the social network, as perhaps best indicated by the big blue button sitting all by its lonesome in the lower right-hand corner. Weirdly enough, the announcement was made on Google+. Just kidding.
The Facebook button is in place for the hardest core of users to make a number of the social network’s features easier and more immediate.
“HTC Status brings a Facebook experience to people who want to share their experiences with their friends faster and easier than ever before,” says Jason Mackenzie, President, HTC Americas. “With a dedicated Facebook share button combined with the hallmark HTC Sense experience, HTC Status makes it easy for people to stay connected to the things that are important to them.”
For example, a user can press the button to immediately post something to their Facebook account without fumbling through menus. Or, they can hold it down to make use of Facebook’s Places feature and “check in” to a venue ala Foursquare. Or, after snapping a photo, they can press the button to post it directly for all of their friends to see. You get the idea. It’s essentially the HTC ChaCha, but re-appropriated for AT&T.
In terms of software, the phone will run Android’s 2.3 Gingerbread with HTC’s Sense UI, all powered by a mid-level 800MHz processor — nothing exactly to write home about. It’ll have a 5-megapixel camera on the back plus a secondary front-facing VGA camera for video chatting.
You’ll swipe around on a 2.6-inch touchscreen display which, after I spent some time with the phone in person, felt as small as it sounds.
The most obvious aspect of its design, though, is its BlackBerry-ish build with a QWERTY keypad, which should speak to the folks who prefer physical buttons instead of touch screens. You can’t really tell from the photo above, but the phone actually has a slight ergonomic curve in the body, meaning it won’t lie completely flat on a table. Its construction, however, felt pretty solid — a brief hands-on made me feel like the thing could take a beating.
But who’s the phone for? Facebook addicts, maybe. Its rugged exterior seems like something that’d be beneficial for share-happy teenagers, especially if it’s their first smartphone. Adults looking for a non-slide/non-folding keypad might want to hold out for the BlackBerry Bold 9900, which should be available later this summer: Its design is more sophisticated, sleek and features a much more intuitive use of the touchscreen.
As for the Status, there’s no word on pricing or availability yet, but I’m willing to bet it’ll be sometime before school kicks off come September. Maybe it’ll earn some “Likes” in the right hands.
See more of the specs after the jump.