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HTC ChaCha: The Facebook phone you’ve been waiting for! (Part II)

This is the second part of a two part series. Part I can be found here.

This second pass gives a more confident hands on with the ChaCha across a period of three weeks. There are a couple of things I found out: this prototype has two features that are different with the retail model (three if you count the serial number on the lower left). First, the prominent “F” button should look better on the commercial units. This one is bigger and placed oddly, as compared to the photos seen in the actual units. Even the font is odd. Second, this prototype only has 150MB of internal memory. The commercial unit has 512MB of internal ROM and 512MB of RAM. And that is the reason why this prototype always runs out of operating memory. The retail version won’t have this problem.

In my previous article I mentioned the oddly sized screen resolution. After downloading several apps, I noticed that some make use of screen reorientation to fit everything in. These apps include TweetDeck and WordPress for Android as well as a couple of games. Note that the screen re-orientation to vertical view isn’t for the full app, but for certain screens only such as your login screen for WordPress and the Accounts tab for TweetDeck (see photo).

The ChaCha comes with a unique lock screen by HTC. Not all of their units have this, but unlocking the phone consists of dragging a small circle from the bottom of the screen to the middle. Your idle screen can also have up to four different shortcut icons which can be activated by dragging the circle over the respective icons to launch them in one press (as compared to unlocking the phone first and then selecting the app from the menu).

Bottomline
The HTC ChaCha is a brilliant device. Again I really have to stress the utility of a built in QWERTY thumb board which you don’t need to slide out. It makes Facebook — and everything else — so much easier to do. IMHO, physical keyboards should make a huge comeback because of sheer utility.The touch screen interface, albeit small, works well in tandem with the keypad. A full charge with data turned on will last you about 10 hours.

Aimed at a mid-range market (students, youth) the most powerful thing about this phone is its price point. No official price yet but what we have confirmed is that the phone will be exclusively available through SMART.

Pros
Affordable Android smartphone
Great form factor — seriously!
Keyboard and touch screen tandem

Cons
Small screen can be a problem for some users

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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