Facebook phone made by HTC to be announced on April 4?
After more than two years of rumor upon rumor, could the infamous Facebook phone finally become reality? That’s certainly what some may think considering that the social network has sent out invites to an event on April 4 (next Thursday), with the tagline – “Come see our new home on Android”.
So is this it? The big one? An Android-powered Facebook phone, previously rumored to be manufactured by HTC? Well, maybe. Maybe not, though. The word ‘home’ doesn’t exactly seem like it would fit with a hardware announcement.
So perhaps what Facebook is going to announce is a type of home screen replacement for Android devices. At least that’s what the WSJ reports will happen. Then again, Facebook could just unveil a half-decent widget for its Android app (since the current one is more a joke than anything else). Speaking of which, maybe Facebook could first make sure that its actual Android app doesn’t suck on devices with less than four CPU cores. Or that it doesn’t get stuck with the ‘loading’ animation ten times a day. Or simple stuff like that, you know, before delving into more complicated things.
But no. Facebook will definitely announce something Android-related next week, and it may just be a home screen thingy, which will initially only be available on HTC phones. That’s apparently because manufacturers “must make some tweaks to the Android software to allow the Facebook app to take over the device’s home screen”. So it’s not your average launcher (because why do simple stuff when you can complicate things, right?). Good to know, though, is the fact that this won’t be a ‘fork’ of Android – phone makers won’t have to break the terms of their agreements with Google in order to make Facebook’s ‘Home’ work.
On the other hand, TechCrunch has some sources that say this will in fact be a phone announcement. The hardware will be made by HTC, and Facebook will use a forked version of Android (like Amazon for its Kindle tablets), one which will feature deep integration with the social network, as you’d expect (although we’re still wondering what exactly that may be and why a forked version of Android is required to make something like this work).
In addition to the smartphone and modified OS, Facebook could also launch a replacement home screen app (so a launcher), which would be downloadable on non-Facebook phones, the rumor goes. This aligns with what was sourced at WSJ above, and it also makes sense from a naming perspective. After all, releasing a phone called Facebook Home doesn’t seem 100% right.
Then again, Facebook and HTC are apparently working on a joint ad campaign, so there will probably be a handset at the announcement too. The tagline for the ads for the Facebook phone will be that it’s “more than just an app”. So expect a much more capable Facebook experience than that which is provided right now by the Facebook for Android app. This comes from “people familiar with the development of the marketing campaign” for the HTC Facebook phone, who spoke to 9to5Google.
And apparently there are individuals who’ve actually seen this Facebook phone. They describe it as being similar to the iPhone in design, featuring a Home button and two capacitive buttons beside it. The screen size may be 4.3 inches, just like the HTC handset codenamed Myst which we’ve leaked for you a few weeks ago, and which this device will probably turn out to be.
Image via Engadget