HTC’s QWERTY Facebook phone has gone on sale in the US, with AT&T offering the HTC Status for just $50 with a new agreement. The Android handset – which we reviewed as the HTC ChaCha - has a 2.6-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen above a very usable QWERTY keyboard, and offers a dedicated Facebook button designed to make sharing to the social network more straightforward.
There’s also a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus, a front-facing camera for VGA-resolution video calls, and 7.2Mbps-capable HSDPA. HTC also throws in WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS, together with a microSD card slot which AT&T preloads with 2GB. OS is Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a customized version of HTC Sense designed to suit the landscape-aspect display.
AT&T is asking $50 for the Status, though you’ll obviously need a new, two-year agreement and a mandatory data plan. Still, that puts it at the cheap end of Android devices, despite it being a solid handset with one of the better keyboards around.
What remains to be seen is whether, with Google+ now on the scene, Facebook continues to hold its appeal. We wouldn’t be surprised if HTC brought out an updated version of the ChaCha/Status with a more flexible social networking button, offering a choice of Facebook, Google+ or Twitter perhaps, rather than assuming that users will always want to share to Facebook.