Facebook will this week unveil its latest push into the mobile world — and industry watchers are convinced the social network is about to launch a Facebook-branded phone.
Media have been summoned to an event at Facebook’s headquarters in California on Thursday, with teaser invitations bearing the words “Come See Our New Home on Android.”
The world’s largest social networking site is giving no further clues, and the announcement could be nothing more than a new service or application, but detailed leaks suggest the company is about to release the fruits of a long-rumored collaboration with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC Corp (宏達電) — a smartphone whose software is a customised version of Google’s Android operating system.
While the camera and memory are reportedly run of the mill its software may be unique.
With a similar look to a black iPhone the phone is supposedly packed with Facebook services, with easy access to its instant messaging and Instagram photography applications, and a home screen displaying the owner’s news feed.
“You have a good version of all the Facebook features you know and want on your phone. So now the next thing we’re going to do is get really good at building new mobile-first experiences,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told investors in January.
An advertising campaign is being created in southern California for HTC and Facebook, under the strapline “more than just an app,” the 9to5Google Web site reported last week.
The project may be called Facebook Home according to TechCrunch, and its software will be a tweaked version of Android with Facebook built-in functions.
In recent weeks details for the Facebook phone have been published on Twitter by two anonymous sources, one of who is close to HTC.
In January @LlabTooFeR published full details of the phone’s camera, screen size and processing power.
The source claimed HTC and Facebook were developing a handset codenamed Myst, that would be available on the US network AT&T, would be 4G compatible, and would have a physical Facebook button. This month @evleaks, another source of early news on mobile development, published a similar list of specifications.
If the rumors prove correct, the phone will be HTC and Facebook’s second collaboration in three years. In 2011 the HTC ChaCha and Salsa phones appeared, featuring a Facebook button which lit up when the user activated the networking site. The devices were discontinued a few months after launch.