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Vodafone Unveils Facebook Phone Called 555 Blue

Vodafone has announced today the launch of a smartphone called the 555 Blue, which looks a lot like the HTC ChaCha since both of them share the same form factor, colour scheme and a dedicated Facebook button.

We're told that it's an Alcatel-built handset which is presented as a bridging device between ultra cheap feature phones and more expensive branded smartphones. The Vodafone 555 Blue is actually a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent and TCL Communication of China, which means that in reality, it is not that different from ZTE or Huawei and therefore should be priced very competitively.

The Vodafone-branded smartphone will be sold in most Vodafone territories, including India where it is expected to do very well. Hardware wise, it comes with a 2.4-inch screen (no touchscreen unlike the ChaCha), a two-megapixel camera but no 3G or Wi-Fi; no surprise there.

However, we're pleased to see that it is bundled with an Opera Mini web browser, which happens to have a nifty compression feature that should not only save bandwidth but also load web pages faster.

Expect the Vodafone 555 Blue to launch in the UK next month for £60 where it will go up against the likes of the Orange Barcelona and cheap handsets like the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8, the LG Viewty Snap and LG Cookie Fresh.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.