Facebook Is “Home On Android.” Phone Coming Soon?
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Yesterday, Facebook sent out invitations to members of the press, asking them to “Come see our new home on Android.” Today, the chatter of an impending Facebook phone is back in full swing.
It´s been a rumor which has never really died, only dwindled to a dull din at it´s lowest stages. Last May redOrbit ran an article about such a phone, saying that engineers from the Apple and Google camps had been approached by Facebook, asking them how these phones work on the inside.
Facebook´s Android event will take place next Thursday, April 4 on campus in Menlo Park, California.
9to5Google.com fills out this story, saying the social giant is once again ready to partner with phone maker HTC. The two companies have allegedly been working on a “major marketing campaign” in Southern California in recent weeks.
These two have worked together in the past, of course, resulting in a QWERTY-laden feature phone with one separated and dedicated Facebook button. Facebook and HTC could plan to advertise a new device as “more than just an app.”
Sources speaking to TechCrunch have said this partnership between Facebook and HTC could result in a deeply forked version of Android, much like Amazon´s Kindle Fire runs only a version of Android. Rather than rebuild Android from the ground up to serve their needs, these two companies could be adding an extra “application layer” to the OS, giving them the ability to bake social elements directly into the platform. TechCrunch likens it to “Facebook´s integration with iOS 6, but on steroids, and built by Facebook itself.”
This project may also be called “Facebook Home,” and feature a home screen with plenty of Facebook features.
The social networking company has been working hard to improve their mobile game and already have several applications which are able to perform some of the same basic duties as a regular phone.
Messenger, for instance, allows users to transfer text messages and phone calls to another Facebook user without the need of that user´s phone number. If you´re friends with that person, you´re able to call and text them just as if you had asked for their digits.
Facebook-owned Instagram is already on hundreds of millions of smartphones, as well as Facebook´s other Camera app which is focused on the photos portion of the social network.
These rumors have been mostly consistent ever since they got their start in 2010.
Last year, AllThingsD discovered that the alleged Facebook phone is internally known as “project Buffy” and will run some version of Android. In these reports, AllThingsD also claimed that HTC would be responsible for building these phones, though neither company would acknowledge the rumors at the time.
Last year´s redOrbit piece, which was originally reported on by the NY Times, told a story about a one-on-one meeting between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and an unnamed Apple engineer who had helped build the iPhone.
According to the Times, Mr. Zuckerberg had plenty of questions for him about the inner workings of the smartphone, including what kind of chips were used and other in-depth details.
Another unnamed Apple engineer told the paper that a Facebook recruiter had confirmed the company’s plans to build a phone.