Vodafone planning wider range of Facebook phones

The 555 Blue - just the start for Vodafone?
The 555 Blue - just the start for Vodafone?

Vodafone's group terminals director has told TechRadar that the new 555 Blue is the first in a line of non-smartphone Facebook devices.

Patrick Chomet confirmed that the network is looking to replicate the deep integration on the 555 Blue on other handsets:

"What we will do continue to use the experience as a category, the Facebook, as a vertical experience, and probably we will do a version two, version three etc.

"We are working already, could work on the same thing and extend it to a touchscreen.

"So we are working on and looking at various things [for future Facebook devices], such as touchscreens, 3G connectivity, nicer designs, better camera - now we have the core working, and hopefully it's a success, we will take it and develop it further."

Smarter features?

When quizzed about the decision to eschew Android, Chomet said it was a hard choice but one that offered the chance to make something that created a deeper Facebook experience than ever before, and offers easy replication:

"It's not easy to do [to create a feature phone based on Facebook], you could always just do the app but we wanted to do it this way and we've had our guys plugged in with Facebook engineers for one year.

"That's the price you have to pay to create a feature phone - if you have a smartphone you just do an app, but with a feature phone the phone is the app, so we only have to create the experience once."

It will be interesting to see how a dedicated Facebook device, which is likely to be a little higher on the pre-pay scale at around £70-£75, will fare compared to the do-it-all smartphones users are increasingly flocking to when choosing their next device.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.