Rumours of an official Facebook phone are surfacing again, with reports suggesting Facebook has chosen HTC to build a smartphone – code named ‘Buffy’ – with deep social networking integration.
AllThingsD reports that the smartphone will run a customised version of Android which will heavily integrate Facebook into its services.
It could also support HTML5 as a platform for applications.
HTC was reportedly selected to build the phone, after it became one of a number of manufacturers to build phones with light Facebook integration. The phone it could produce for Facebook may have much deeper social networking integration and could appear on the market 12 to 18 months from now.
The Facebook phone has been rumoured for a long time, though Facebook has so far kept quiet about any plans it may have to release an official device.
However, in a statement to AllThingsD, a Facebook spokesperson said the company believes every mobile device would be better if it was "deeply social."
“We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world,” said the spokesperson.
If these rumours are true, then it could see Facebook become a stronger force in the mobile market. By customising Android to its services, similarly to how the Kindle Fire does for Amazon, it can create a unique mobile experience catered to Facebook which could appeal to its now 800m-strong user base.
The mobile platform’s increased Facebook integration could be used to drive even more users to the apps, content and games available from the social network.