The Vodafone 555 Blue phone, with built-in Facebook functionality, is now available to Vodacom customers in South Africa.

This device, which was recently launched by Vodafone in the UK, was specifically designed to put the Facebook experience into the heart of the handset, allowing people to easily share and connect with friends when they are on the move.

Vodacom’s managing executive: marketing, Enzo Scarcella comments: “Social networking using mobile phones is becoming increasingly important amongst customers who want to stay connected regardless of the time or place and this global trend is relevant to South Africa too. There are currently more than 4,1-million Facebook users in South Africa. The Vodafone 555 Blue will provide more South Africans in the emerging market with an affordable way to access the world’s largest social networking site.”

The Vodafone 555 Blue, developed in collaboration with Facebook, puts popular social networking functions – from status updates to sharing a photo – into the hands of millions of people in an attractive, intuitive and competitively-priced mobile phone.

“Facebook wants to make every phone social and Vodafone has taken the integration of Facebook to the next stage for an affordable mobile device with the Vodafone 555 Blue,” says Jonathan Labin, client partner: Central Eastern Europe Middle East & Africa of Facebook. “We’re really happy that Vodafone will distribute this phone globally and we hope to do much more with them to bring the mobile, social internet to people everywhere.”

Features of the Vodafone 555 Blue include:
* Ready to go, straight out of the box: Facebook is built into the handset’s core – it’s running the moment the customer turns 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 synchronised 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 customisable Facebook ‘F’ button can be assigned to one of a number of tasks, including instantly posting a status update with photos from the gallery or with links from the browser.
  • * Attractive form-factor: finger touch navigation key, 2,4-inch landscape display and QWERTY keypad are ideal for typing chat, e-mail and status updates.

The Vodafone 555 Blue includes the Opera Mini web browser.

The device will retail at R749.00 on prepaid or for R99.00 per month on a Top Up 99 Vodacom 4 Less contract. Both deals will include free 30Mb of data.