HTC Corporation has launched its ‘facebook phone’, the ChaCha (or ChaChaCha) in India at a price of around Rs 16,000.
The phone has been launched in association with Tata DoCoMo, which basically means that you get a lot freebies if you buy it from Tata DoCoMo. The phone is available to everyone, whether a DoCoMo customer or not, through HTC dealers across the country.
The ChaCha is not an extraordinary phone by the usual standards, but for die-hard facebook addicts, the phone may be irresistible.
For others, the phone is worth a look, but does have several limitations. The biggest is the form factor. Unlike other phones targeted at the youth, the HTC ChaCha is a candybar shaped phone instead of a big-screen type phone.
Compared to 3.5 to 4.3 inches of phone display sizes now fashionable, the HTC ChaCha has just 2.6 inches of display. In this sense, it is of course better than the Nokia E6, which has a 2.46 inch screen and costs around Rs 1,000 more than the HTC ChaCha.
However, the 2.6 inch touch screen of the ChaCha is unlikely to give a ‘wholesome’ touch experience. [In comparison, the upcoming Blackberry Bold 9900 candybar phone has a 2.8 inch display.)
Apart from that, the phone’s biggest distinguishing factors are that it really stands out in a crowd thanks to its unique and very pleasing style. It is perhaps one of the cutest phones in the market today.
The wide, separate keys also promise a pain-free typing experience — ideal for those who live on Facebook and chat. As already noted, the phone is not for those who want to watch movies or play ‘angry birds’ or other games.
It has decent 3G speeds of around 7 Mbps (download) compared to the Nokia E-6’s 10 Mbps. The speed difference is unlikely to make any difference as most networks will peak out at around 3 Mbps of speed, irrespective of how much your handset may support.
The display resolution (0.15 megapixel) is less crisp compared to the Nokia E6 (3.07 mp), but in our opinion, is more than enough for a display of 2.6 inches.
The biggest plus, as noted earlier, is the ease of using facebook and its features like facebook chat (we are not sure about facebook video-chat yet, since the feature was not around when the phone was introduced.)
Thanks to the opensource nature of its Android operating system, the OS has been thoroughly edited and moulded to integrate the phone with facebook services very tightly. It is possible to chat with multiple facebook friends at the same time using the phone. [The feature is also available through downloadable applications on other phones.]
All the same, other chat and messenger services are also possible to be installed on it.
The facebook integration also means that you can click a phone on its LED-flash 5 megapixel camera and have it show up on your facebook profile with just one press of a button. Or you can share a webpage you are looking at by pressing the facebook key at the bottom, or tell your friends on facebook where you are, using the built-in GPS.
In addition, Tata DoCoMo users can get 3GB of data (usable over three months) in case they are on 3G and 3G data plus 300 Tata to Tata local calls if they are on 2G.
Overall, we would recommend the phone to anyone who is in the market for a candybar shaped phone, especially for the youth who uses text messages and chat a lot.