Device Watch: HTC Updates Its Status at AT&T

It's all about social networking, top-secret Sea Rays, 3-D and the iPhone in this week's device roundup.

  • HTC 'ChaChas' to AT&T: High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498)'s first Facebook-friendly phone will be making its way to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), rebranded from ChaCha to the HTC Status. Tech blog Boy Genius Report says the Death Star will start selling the phone in the next week or two. The qwerty phone has a dedicated Facebook button and integrates the service into the handset's dialer, camera and media player for the user who has an exciting life and wants to make sure everyone knows it.

  • Nokia's first Windows Phone: Don't tell anyone, but Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s first Windows Phone smartphone will be the Sea Ray, a clone of the MeeGo-based N9. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop showed off the phone at an press event, asking attendees to turn off all cameras and videos during the unveiling. Go figure -- a lot of people didn't. Here's the bootlegged first look:

  • AT&T's (maybe) cheap thrill: In another device win for AT&T, the carrier will start selling the LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) Thrill 4G, an HSPA+ smartphone capable of capturing 3-D video and photos. The Thrill's 3D goodies can be viewed without special glasses thanks to twin stereoscopic, 5-megapixel cameras. Users can also make video calls over Wi-Fi via the two-way cameras and Qik Inc. video chat app on Android. The Thrill is already on sale in Europe under the moniker LG Optimus 3D, but the pair hasn't announced pricing for the U.S. variant.
  • T-Mobile's million iPhones: T-Mobile US Inc. may not officially offer the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, but it has more than 1 million of them riding on its GSM network, according to blog 9to5mac. Most of the phones are the 3G or 3G S version, as Apple only began selling unlocked iPhone 4s in the U.S. last month. T-Mobile might tack on its share of locked iPhones as well this fall if Apple introduces the latest version with T-Mobile support. Or if that doesn't happen, it could change when AT&T's acquisition of the carrier goes through, potentially opening the device up to T-Mobile's customers.

  • Apple patents the touchscreen: In a move that could mean trouble for a number of handset makers, Apple was awarded a patent this week for its capacitive, multi-touch screen technology. The patent has been pending since December 2007, and patent experts tell PC World it is broad enough that Apple could sue 'most any touch-screen maker imitating the iPhone -- so, essentially, no hardware maker is safe from Cupertino's lawsuit-happy lawyers.

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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