Hands On with HTC Status for AT&T: Facebook Button for Easy Updates

HTC just announced its new Status smartphone for AT&T which boasts a special Facebook button. It’s designed to make sharing content via the popular social network quick and easy. We got a chance to preview the device and here are our first impressions.

The HTC Status, originally introduced at MWC 2011 as the HTC ChaCha,  is on the small side, featuring a tiny 2.6-inch screen, and is crafted in an off-white hue. A full 4-row QWERTY keyboard takes up much of the phone’s front face and even has discrete arrow keys on its right side. Its most interesting feature, however, is a special Facebook button that sits below the keyboard on the right.

HTC representatives told us that this Facebook button will not only provide fast access to Facebook functions, but will also glow to alert users when social activity pertaining to them is detected. Users can also long-press the button to check into Facebook Places locations, which the HTC Status will automatically detect when nearby.

Apparently HTC worked with Facebook on the design of the button, but it remains to be seen just how deep integration will be and what other features it will enable. The HTC Status itself runs the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS but uses a tweaked version of HTC’s Sense interface to pull in keyboard functions and a sliding bar along the right side of the phone’s minute touchscreen.

Also onboard are dual cameras, one VGA front-facing plus another main 5-megapixel capture device on back. Special visual effects can be applied such as Sepia, Old-fashioned, and Aqua both during and after snapshots are taken.

In the short time we spent with the HTC Status, the phone felt comfortable to hold but its screen sure looked cramped. Its keyboard was comfortable, though we wonder how many people will give up screen size just for a keyboard and tighter integration with Facebook. The price will have to be pretty low to bring users to the table.

That said, HTC did confirm that the Status will have a very competitive sticker price and is expected to be due out on AT&T soon. We’ll report back as we hear more. In the meantime check these pictures we shot of the device.

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