Previous speculation noted Facebook had a mobile phone in the works (it never materialized), but now it appears this could become a reality. The social network sent out press invites today that noted “Come See Our New Home on Android,” an event set to take place in one week on April 4th, at their Menlo Park campus in California.
According to TechCrunch, their sources note Facebook could reveal a modified version of Android to run on an HTC-built smartphone:
Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality that may live on an HTC handset. This may actually be the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about.
One source recently told us to be on the look out for a Facebook mobile press event in early April where the social network would reveal an altered Android OS running on HTC. It’s said not to be a full-on rewrite of Android, but rather a modification that will have all sorts of extra Facebook functionality built in. Imagine Facebook’s integration with iOS 6, but on steroids, and built by Facebook itself. It could have a heavy reliance on Facebook’s native apps like Messenger, easy social sharing from anywhere on the phone, and more.
Other speculation this could be a product announcement is based on the hours of the event. The announcement starts at 10AM, but shuttles back to San Francisco don’t leave until 1PM, which is an hour later compared to its former Graph Search event, which left at noon. This supposed extra time would allow hands-on reviews of a Facebook smartphone.
Over at 9to5Google, their sources claim this Facebook/HTC collaboration could result in an iPhone-like device with a home button (a mock up is below):
Sources who have seen the Facebook/HTC smartphone hardware in-person say it is reminiscent of an iPhone. It includes an iPhone-like “home button” on the bottom center, and this button is surrounded by horizontal function keys on the right and left side. These buttons are said to be capacitive.
Above the keys is a display slightly larger in size to the 4-inch display found on the iPhone 5. Recent rumors have pointed to a collaborative Facebook/HTC phone featuring a 4.3-inch display.
Moreover, marketing materials seen by sources tell 9to5Google the campaign will focus on a tagline that says the phone will be “more than just an app”, to target the potential user of the device instead of its software/hardware.
Sounds like this will be a phone for Facebook junkies, running a customized version of Android within HTC hardware. We’ll find out how accurate these reports are in a week. Would you want to purchase a ‘Facebook phone’?