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Does the Smartphone Segment Needs a Facebook Phone?

I don’t how many of you got your hands on a HTC ChaCha, but it was a pretty nice smartphone. The touch screen + generous physical keyboard combination was really easy to use and it worked like wonders. Unless I’m terribly wrong the physical keyboard of the HTC ChaCha was 10% bigger than of any other QWERTY smartphone. Or maybe it was about the size of the buttons? Never mind.

Well, if the rumors are accurate, then HTC is not giving up and is now readying another Facebook Phone. How many of you want it and how the smartphone ecosystem needs it? I’ll try to answer here.

What do we know so far? We know that a so-called HTC Myst (latest reports say it’s HTC First) might debut during the a special Android event hosted by Facebook on April 4th. The smartphone will have a dual-core processor, 8 megapixel camera, 4.3-inch HD display, and no microSD card slot. There’s no word of a special Facebook button, but it seems that the entire Android experience will gravitate around the social network service.

From a simple app, Facebook will now become a sort of launcher (even a UI say some sources) and one entire Homescreen will be dedicated to the social network, in a way HTC’s BlinkFeed works on One. Some talk about Facebook Home for Android, and the gossips say that it is an app that can be installed from Play Store and make the social network the centre piece of your smartphone. The Facebook is already everywhere, it has a dedicated app for messaging, it’s integrated in games, contacts and calendar.

Some rumors say that it will be integrated in the notifications bar, giving the user quick access to Facebook messages or contacts list. You will be able to pull down your notification bar and have full access to Facebook right under your thumb. Change status, check in, send a private message to someone? All these will be available if the Facebook notification button is true.

Let’s be honest. The Facebook experience on Android is really bad. Just look at how well and discreet the Facebook is integrated in the People are in Windows Phone. The Microsoft platform hides Facebook and Twitter so well inside it, you don’t even feel them. Facebook has probably seen how well the Google Plus is integrated in the Android/Google experience and it probably wants the same treatment.

I am expecting two reactions: the Facebook “maniacs” will be thrilled, while those who rarely use the service, but install Facebook Home/purchase HTC First will start complaining that are invaded by notifications/friend requests/likes/Farmville/Spamville. In a world where the Like button is like a god, I wonder why the HTC ChaCha and Salsa didn’t work.

I don’t know any HTC ChaCha figures, but every time I talked about HTC ChaCha everybody I know was snorted their disapproval. There was also a Vodanfone-branded smartphone with Facebook button, and another one developed by Motorola, but they are already forgotten.

The next step? A Facebook tablet or maybe a Facebook camera, which would make as much sense as the cameras with special YouTube option.

We can’t forget about the ones who don’t care about Facebook, the Twitter and Google Plus fans, or those who’ve had enough of Zuckerberg’s social network. For them, April 4th will come and go very quick, and if the technical specifications of the HTC First are true, only a great price would save it.

This smartphone should be free on contract, even with a small contract. Or maybe Zuckerberg will surprise us and offer the smartphone at an extraordinary low price, but with a Facebook full of advertising.

Would you purchase a Facebook phone? How much would you pay for it?