Orange launches affordable 'Facebook phones' in Europe, Africa

Mobile operator Orange teamed up with social networking giant Facebook, and phone manufacturer Alcatel, to bring three emerging market Facebook-integrated phones to users for under €100.

Mobile network giant Orange is poised to launch three new phones, offering deep Facebook integration, before the end of the year, designed to be affordable handsets for emerging and mature markets.

Set to launch in time for the holiday season during the last quarter of 2011, Facebook has been working hand-in-hand with Orange to bring three new social handsets to Europe and Africa for under €100 ($135)  -- including the Android-powered Alcatel One Touch 908F smartphone -- one of most affordable Android smartphones on the market.

Click for larger image -- Orange OT-585F (left), Orange OT-813F (center), Orange OT-908F (right) -- (Source: Orange)

Speaking earlier today to Patrick Remy, vice-president of group device for Orange, he said the company recognises customers' want and needs, to be able to communicate with friends, family and work colleagues using the social network, and the mobile operator therefore wanted to fulfil those needs.

Orange worked with both Facebook and Alcatel to create a range of devices that had hardware buttons to enable 'smart' Facebook functionality -- such as giving options based on where one is within the phone's interface -- but also to price them as low as possible to make these affordable for low-economically developed countries and regions.

Orange recognises that nearly half of their customers do not have access to smartphones, making 'sociability' in this day and age of high social network activity and data use a keen market to help crack open for developing and mature markets.

These devices will be available in more than 15 countries, including Romania, Poland, France and Spain within European markets, and a number of countries in Africa also, and will launch in more regions throughout 2012.

The Orange OT-585F (left) is a full-sized keyboard device with GPRS connectivity, along with a dedicated Facebook hardware key -- a consistent element to these new handsets. It also boasts a 2-megapixel camera, an MP3 player, and all the usual features you would expect from any modern handset. It will cost around €40-50 ($55-65).

Along with this, the Orange OT-813F (center) comes with both EDGE (2.5G) and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with a 2-megapixel camera, and a 2.4-inch touch-display. With side hardware keys to control the volume of music, the QWERTY-keyboard device will cost only €50-60 ($65-80).

The Orange OT-908F (right) will run Android 2.2 ('Froyo') and will be the most affordable Android device on the market. With a dedicated Facebook hardware key, along with the other two phones, it is a touch-screen phone with unlimited data access to Facebook. The top-of-the-range emerging market phone will run on standby for nearly two weeks, and will support all the advanced Android features one would expect.

France Telecom-Orange is one of the world's leading mobile network operators, with a presence in 35 countries around the world, and over 220 million customers from September 2011.


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