The HTC Status puts its money where its mouth is: Almost the entire front end of the phone is about sharing, updating, or checking on your social-network statuses. The thing even has a "share on Facebook" button right on its chassis.
The Status, coming exclusively from AT&T this summer, is otherwise run-of-the-mill. A 2.6-inch touchscreen and BlackBerry-style QWERTY keyboard front Android 2.3 and HTC's own Sense UI with a slow-sounding 800 MHz CPU inside, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and webcam-resolution forward-facing cam. Subtle adjustments to the Sense UI make social media the core of the user experience. It's the first phone with a Facebook share button, according to HTC. One push activates a system that transmits your music choices, photos, and (of course) status updates to the web. It can even share photos the moment you snap 'em.
If you want to share your location, the barrier to doing so is perhaps lower than it's ever been on a smartphone—you just long press on the "Share" button, and all the rest is handled automatically. When you're listening to music that same button glows, prompting you to share with the world that you're jamming to "Since U Been Gone." The Android lock screen is now a status-widget haven, so you can drag your fave apps there and launch them directly.
It's not all one-way transmission, of course. There's also a prominent chat widget so you can see at a glance who's online and ready to talk. And when you make or receive a call, your contact's info is presented to you along with data like their upcoming birthday and last status update on Facebook.
Worried about your physical status? There's a dedicated mirror app, for those moments when you need a "quick double-check of your hair." And, HTC notes, that front-facing webcam is ideal for a "spontaneous self-portrait or a quick cheek-to-cheek pic with your best pal."
The HTC Status, ladies and gentlemen, is the smartphone for the American teenage Facebook generation. If it's priced on the lower end, which is probable given the relatively low tech inside, it could be the new Sidekick. And it could be the nail in the coffin for BBM-addicted youngsters looking for a new social fix. Perhaps the pressure for Apple to get that rumored low-end iPhone "Lite" on shelves just got a little more intense.