Last Thursday Facebook (FB) sent out invitations, much as Apple and other large communications companies have done in the past, to a press event to showcase their “new home on Android” the new Facebook Smartphone with HTC. This has led to a host of internet speculation in which bloggers are guessing that the hugely popular social media site might now be producing its very own smartphone.
If the rumours are said to be true, it appears that FB are set to team up with Tiawanese company HTC, who will supposedly design the hardware. Sources are claiming that the two companies have been working on a pretty major marketing campaign in recent weeks, in the heart of Southern California.
The Facebook-centric smartphone will feature its own modified version of the Android operating system, which is very similar to the way Amazon modified Android for its own Kindle Fire HD tablets.
Sources at 9to5Google also suggest that the new Facebook smartphone will not focus heavily on fancy technological features, but instead be branded more “as a lifestyle brand, not specifically for its hardware or software.”
FB and HTC have a previous working connection, as they collaborated on the unsuccessful Salsa and HTC Cha-cha devices which failed to make any sort of dent in the smartphone market. And in 2011, HTC bought out the HTC Status smartphone with a prominent Facebook button that also failed to take off. 9to5Google’s sources seem to think that the new phone will feature “a deeper, forked version of Android rather than a Facebook-ified version of Sense,” so it appears that the two companies are working much more closely this time to get it right.
And although the emphasis is not on hardware or software, they will have to produce at least an industry standard to be able to compete in an ever increasingly technological communications market.
Neither FB or HTC have confirmed any such rumours, but TechCrunch says that the event will discuss a Facebook OS based on Android at the very least, but sources who state that they have seen the new Facebook/HTC smartphone hardware in-person say it is very similar in style to the iPhone.
It apparently features an iPhone-like “home button” on the bottom center, which is surrounded by horizontal function keys on the right and left side. There is a display which is slightly larger in size to the 4-inch display found on the iPhone 5, which would appear to confirm rumours of a Facebook/HTC phone featuring a 4.3-inch display.
UnwiredView suggests that the Facebook/HTC phone will feature a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 1.6 megapixel front-facing camera. The new phone will include a forked software version of the Android operating system and all of FB’s main features, such as messaging, status sharing and photo uploading will be fully integrated throughout the operating system.
There are yet other sources who say that it is more than likely that Facebook and HTC have had discussions with at least a couple of cellular carriers around the world about carrying the device.
The New York Times have said that Facebook has hired away from Apple, many iOS developers to help work on the project.
If the rumours are true, we could see the new FB/HTC smartphone in shops mid summer.