HTC announced today the arrival of its new phone, the Status, which comes with an integrated Facebook button for easy social media sharing. The phone will be available exclusively on AT&T this summer and while it’s not the “Facebook Phone” that some have been anticipating, it does put a heavy emphasis on social media sharing directly from the phone. Using the dedicated Facebook button, users will be able to instantly post a new status, upload photos, check-in at their current location, or share stories and articles from the Web directly to Facebook. While listening to music on the phone, users can also quickly press the Facebook button to share what they are listening to with friends. Other features include app shortcuts on the lock screen, front and back cameras for Facebook-friendly self-portraits, and smart ringer technology that reduces volume when the phone is in your hand and increases volume when in a pocket or bag.
Each time users make or get a call from a friend, that friend’s Facebook photo and status will pop up on the screen. If it’s that friend’s birthday that week, that information will show up as well. The 5-megapixel camera offers instant filters and artistic touches, and users can even choose to have the phone upload photos to Facebook as they are taken. The Status will run Android 2.3 and HTC Sense. There’s no word on pricing or availability yet, but AT&T and HTC should be announcing the information soon.
While we certainly like the social integration, our first thought about the phone was why on Earth would they choose to make the phone look like a BlackBerry with a full keyboard and measly 2.6-inch screen? If the phone is designed to be all about integrating with Facebook, users are going to want a big, beautiful, high-resolution screen for reading the news feed, snapping photos, and browsing the web. The social media features of the Status are appealing, but this phone needs to be good enough to compete with the iPhone and popular Android devices to be a success. The Microsoft Kin was similarly focused around social media and was still a failure, largely because it couldn’t compete with the best phones on the market. Time will tell if the HTC Status will have the same problems, but we think that the small screen and phone design might keep it from competing with the big guns.