Vodafone today launched the Vodafone 555 Blue in India for Rs 4,590 ($100). The telecommunications company calls it the "world's first prepay phone with Facebook built-in." The device, which was developed in collaboration with Facebook and will be simply sold as the Vodafone Blue in India, was expected to arrive in the country last month but was delayed for unknown reasons.
The Vodafone Blue is a locked prepaid phone aimed at emerging markets. It is not 3G-enabled but this is arguably okay for India since EDGE has a much wider coverage area in the country.
The phone features a dedicated Facebook button (similar to HTC's offerings), which lets you upload pictures, visit profiles, and update your status with a single push. The device also automatically checks the social network for new notifications every 20 minutes, although this time period can be changed. Vodafone Blue will give users one year of unlimited access to Facebook for free from the date of its purchase in India.
Vodafone lists the following features for the 555 Blue:
Ready to go, straight out of the box: Facebook is built into the handset's core – it's running the moment you turn on the mobile phone.
Truly integrated messaging: Facebook messages appear in the handset's inbox alongside texts and e-mail.
Simple photo-sharing: photos taken using the Vodafone 555 Blue's 2 megapixel camera can be shared with friends with a single click.
Easy to stay in contact: friends' Facebook profiles are automatically synchronized in the Vodafone 555 Blue's address book.
Always available: the Vodafone 555 Blue updates regularly in the background, flagging new items on the homescreen and quickly loading them when opened.
One-click control: the customizable Facebook 'F' button can be assigned to a number of tasks, including instantly posting a status update with photos from the gallery or with links from the browser.
Attractive form-factor: touch navigation, 2.4" landscape display, and QWERTY keypad are ideal for typing chat, e-mail, and status updates.
Music on the Go: fully integrated FM Radio and music player with 3.5mm jack
"Facebook wants to make every phone social and Vodafone has taken the integration of Facebook to the next level with the Vodafone Blue," Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook, said in a statement. "We are really happy that Vodafone has brought the phone to India and enabling people to experience Facebook free of charge from the mobile device for a year."
"The mobile internet plays a central role in the daily lives of millions of Vodafone customers, many of whom are avid Facebook users," Patrick Chomet, Vodafone's Group Terminals Director, said in a statement. "Vodafone Blue is the answer to our youth's mobile social networking needs. The phone has been designed to let everyone experience the fun of connecting with friends on the go, at a pocket friendly price. With our unique, fully integrated Facebook customization, the Vodafone Blue offers a compelling, out-of-the-box experience."