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Facebook in your, er, face

Rumours persist that Facebook is customising its own version of Google's Android operating system to produce an army of 'Facebook phones'. We're not convinced, but whatever the truth is, manufacturers aren't waiting for Zuckerberg & co., they're churning out Facebook phones of their own. Just a few weeks ago saw the UK launch of the INQ Cloud Touch, which is like an Android phone that's been taken over by Facebook much like the Borg takes over an organic being: Facebook is the home screen, Facebook is the chat app, Facebook manages your contacts. It looks fun but possibly a bit limiting for those (probably above the age of 18) with some friends who aren't on the all-encompassing social network.

A more nuanced approach might be that taken by HTC's Salsa and ChaCha. Stupid name notwithstanding, these look from an initial glance like regular Android phones sporting HTC's nifty 'Sense' customisations (you know, the big clock with the weather underneath it). You can still have all the usual widgets on your Android homescreen, so if you're as into Twitter as Facebook, you're all right.

But what's that down the bottom? That blue button with an 'F' on it? Yes, that's the Facebook button. HTC has focused on hardware rather than software in its Facebook customisations. Depending on what you're doing on the phone - and even where you are - the button will supposedly glow to show you you can do something Facebook-related. For example, we'd imagine, if you take a photo it'l glow to say 'press me and I'll post the photo to Facebook'.

Is this a silly gimmick or a potential time-saver? We honestly don't know. But if you're smitten, and you don't want to wait for the reviews to come out, you can pre-order both the Salsa - a regular touchscreen 'slate' device - and the ChaCha, which has a landscape screen and QWERTY keyboard - from Amazon now. The ChaCha will set you back £249.99, the Salsa £319.99.

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