Handset makers scrambling to make Facebook a central part of their device (Photo update)

Updated with photo, additional info for HTC phones) Facebook has become such an integral part of people's lives that handset makers are leaping over each other to feature the social networking site on their mobile devices.

Almost every company releasing a mobile pone these days lauds easy access to social networking site Facebook as a major feature of their device but handset makers are now taking the trend further with a craze that has given birth to a number of new social networking handsets dubbed "Facebook phones."

In the days leading up to Mobile World Congress (MWC), London-based social mobile company INQ introduced two new Android-powered Facebook phones: the INQ Touch and the INQ Cloud Q.

Both devices were developed in collaboration with Facebook and feature new mobile apps that put social networking at the forefront of the user experience.

Facebook's newsfeed appears directly on the homescreens of INQ's Facebook phones meaning users can instantly see video, pictures, web pages and posts added by their friends when they look at the device.

"We started the 'Social Mobile' category 3 years ago with the Skypephone and INQ1, as we believed integrating the internet was the future of mobile," said Frank Meehan, INQ's CEO.

"Since then, Facebook has evolved from a social network to become an incredibly powerful global communications platform. Speed and simplicity of access to things you love is our DNA, so our next step is to make it even easier for people to experience the richness of Facebook - all from the homescreen."

HTC announced two Facebook phones during Mobile World Congress: the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa.

The devices - one of which is a QWERTY candybar form factor "à la the Motorola Droid" while the other is a "more traditional touchscreen slate" - both have dedicated Facebook buttons.

"[T]he new HTC ChaCha and Salsa offer special new ways to experience Facebook on a mobile device," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation in a February 15 statement to the press.

"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." 

It's not just smartphone manufacturers that are friending Facebook. Security company Gemalto has developed a SIM card that enables any user with any handset - even those without a data connection or subscription - to access Facebook on their mobile phone.

The Facebook for SIM is "compatible with 100% of SIM-compliant mobile phones," said Gemalto in a February 14 press release and provides users with core Facebook features via SMS technology.

"No data contract or application download is needed, because the software is embedded in the SIM," said Gemalto, adding that "[f]ollowing an initial limited free trial period, Facebook for SIM then operates on a subscription model via an unlimited pass for a given period of time."

"SMS data charges that follow will be decided and announced by individual operators," said Gemalto in an February 16 email to Relaxnews.

While Facebook has actively worked with mobile makers to deeply integrate its social networking service, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said there are no plans to make a "Twitter phone."

During a speech at Mobile World Congress, technology website Paid Content reports that Costolo said, "I believe there is a need [to better integrate] Twitter in existing platforms for phones, but not for a Twitter-branded smartphone."

Facebook has embrased handset maker's requests to integrate its social network deep into the user interface on mobile handsets.

Facebook engineer Charles Wu revealed these devices are the first of many "Facebook phones" consumers will see in the market before the end of the year in a February 16 post on the Facebook blog.

"In addition to these new phones from INQ and HTC, you'll also be seeing similar deep Facebook integration on dozens of other devices over the course of this year. Some manufacturers will be highlighting Facebook as a part of their phones' on-screen interfaces, and others will use our brand as an element of the device hardware itself," said Wu.

The INQ Cloud Touch will be available in the second quarter of 2011 while the INQ Cloud Q is set for a third quarter release. Both phones will be marketed at "affordable prices for the mass market," said INQ.

The HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa smartphones will arrive in Europe and Asia during the second quarter of 2011 with a US launch later in the year.


Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style

ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

    £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

    £45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week