NEW YORK (MainStreet) — For months, Facebook has denied rumors that it would take a page from Google’s playbook and come out with its own line of smartphones, but this week the company did an about-face and revealed that even though it will not develop a Facebook phone, other companies already are.

“A lot has been made about a single Facebook phone but this year you can expect to see dozens of phones with much deeper social integrations than anything we’ve seen so far,” Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, announced Tuesday at the 2011 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

In particular, Zuckerberg highlighted two new Android phones manufactured by HTC – the ChaCha and Salsa - that will boast a special Facebook button to give users the ability to pull up their Facebook accounts with one touch. The button, which has the Facebook logo on it, is the size of other letters on the phones’ keyboards and appears at the bottom of each, giving the handsets the subtle appearance of being Facebook-branded products.

As with previous smartphones, users will also be able to access Facebook and other social networks from apps on the home screen, which of course raises the question of what exactly the button accomplishes. The premise here seems to be that many of the hundreds of millions of people on Facebook are so eager to read status updates on the site that they will switch to a phone that lets them do this in one step instead of two.

How important is accessing Facebook to you? Would you buy a phone based on how well it integrates the popular social networking site? Let us know in the comments section.

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