The word “social” has become the defining word of the past decade, with the biggest social network, Facebook, having over 500 million users all over the world, and we’re not even counting the users of RenRen, the biggest social network in China, which supposedly has about 300 million users (and there’s little reason to doubt that).
Unboxing HTC Chacha
Obviously, with the rising popularity of smartphones, many people began using social networks on them, whenever they want, from wherever they are, and it’s a very convenient way to do it. Phone manufacturers noticed that, of course, but only now have we started to see some real tight integration in smartphones. One of the best examples of a new age social smartphone is the HTC ChaCha, which was made to give a user the best Facebook experience possible on a phone.
HTC Chacha Manual
The new device looks pretty interesting, and at first glance, you’d think that it was made to compete with the Blackberry line of phones from RIM, however, it lacks the necessary business features (like encryption and security) for corporate use. It is in fact oriented at teenagers and people who can type fast, although anyone can use it without problems. On the front, there’s a relatively small 2.6 inch touch screen with a comfortable resolution of 480×320 pixels that should be more than enough for any apps and eve Web browsing, although everything on the screen looks a bit small and cramped.
HTC Facebook Phone
Right below it is the portrait QWERTY keyboard, which looks and works very well and can easily be compared to the aforementioned Blackberries. The housing itself is even slightly bent to make typing easier and faster, and that definitely shows in use.
The First Facebook Phone
Performance isn’t going to be a problem on the ChaCHa – the smartphone is powered by a pretty snappy Qualcomm MSM7227 single core processor running at 800 MHz, and with the 512 MB of RAM on board, it should work about as fast as the T-Mobile G2, for example, which is really good. The user also gets 512 MB of ROM for all the apps they might need, but the storage space must be provided separately using a micro SD card, so you should take into account its price before purchasing the ChaCha (a 16 GB card will cost around $30).
Look Mom!! It has Facebook Updates!!
Other hardware specs are pretty standard for a modern smartphone: there’s your usual Wifi N, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, GPS, accelerometer, 3.5 mm audio out jack and support for HSDPA/HSUPA of up to 7.2 Mbps download and 2.0 Mbps upload – I doubt you’ll ever use the full speed on the small screen, though. On the back there’s a decent 5 megapixels camera for all your photos and video clips (sadly, no HD video support, but the 720×480 format should be good enough for almost anything) and you also have a VGA pin hole camera on the front for video calls and vanity shots.
Goodbye BB, Hello Chacha
As it is the case with most new Android smartphones, the HTC ChaCha runs on the latest 2.3 Gingerbread version, which is the last smartphone-only Android version and should provide all the features and API support for any apps you might want to run for the next couple of years. TO make the most out of the small screen, HTC also slightly modified their Sense UI, so the bottom dock/bar is now only two buttons that expand to give you various options.
Of course, the biggest feature is the dedicated Facebook button, which is coupled with HTC’s custom software to allow the user to post anything they want to Facebook at any time or open their profile page as soon as they get the phone out of the pocket. So, for example, if you see anything interesting, you can just take a photo, click the Facebook button and bam, the photo is uploaded to your preset album and posted on the wall – that’s pretty useful for all of the Facebook addicts out there.
The HTC ChaCha is a pretty nice smartphone, especially for those who use Facebook a lot, although the price is a bit high without a contract at $350 – so you’re better off getting it with a contract with SMART with data plan P1,000, especially if it is your first smartphone.