HTC Status phone an apt social network link

January 29, 2012 12:00 am

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The definition of "status" has changed over the last couple of years, as Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks have linked the word closely with the messages that show online what you're currently doing. So it's only a matter of time before a smartphone company would create a phone called Status. That's HTC, which runs its Status smartphone on the AT&T cellular network.

The HTC Status is a bit unusual in two ways. First, it has a hard button optimized for Facebook; second, its shape is vaguely reminiscent of a more traditional phone.

The Facebook button, complete with a Facebook icon on it, helps you share your memories, status updates and photos with your friends and associates via the world's largest social network. You don't even have to open the Facebook app to do it. You could take a photo with your camera on the HTC Status; then press the Facebook button. It automatically posts the photo to Facebook, adds a caption for you and tags the photo. If you live your life on Facebook, it's a cool button.

The shape is not your standard brick; it has a slight bend -- very subtle -- just like the old handsets from traditional, corded land-line phones. That makes it feel slightly more comfortable than a standard brick, and might make you expect the sound to be better from the microphone. Don't get your hopes up; it still has a quality of the standard cell phone microphone. That means not great, but the same as we're used to these days.

Speaking of sound, Pandora, the music service, sounds great through the ear buds. Unfortunately, when my son and I were using it, Pandora locked up consistently, causing us to reboot the phone in order to continue using it. We have not encountered that on other cell phones, whether iPhone or Android-based like the Status.

Similarly, using other apps has a degrading effect on the phone. The more you use it, the slower it gets. Sooner or later you'll need to reboot the phone again. My son believes the multiple Facebook apps constantly running on the phone cause the problem. This phone is so connected that it's hard to go offline because every time you use one Facebook app, it seems to turn on the several others.

The HTC Status has cameras on front and back, making it a good choice if you want to do video chat. This means you can more easily visit with Grandma and Grandpa or other relatives far away.

Even though every new smartphone that comes out seems to have more features related to Facebook and social networking, the Facebook button on the HTC Status seems to have moved the bar just a bit further -- and has done so in a useful way. I can't help but wonder when we're going to see similar phones with Google+ and LinkedIn buttons. With business using LinkedIn so heavily, it would seem that such a phone would command a premium price that business people would gladly pay to stay in touch with sales prospects, suppliers and work associates.

HTC Status comes in your choice of colors, giving you the option to personalize your phone as you're on Facebook. As of this writing you can get it for no cost if you buy it with a new two-year contract at AT&T's website or Best Buy.

Follow David Radin on Twitter @dradin or learn more at www.megabyteminute.com .
First Published 2012-02-09 20:16:24
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