Facebook smartphone to become a reality – ‘New Home on Android’ with HTC

29 Mar 2013

Facebook has invited press to a briefing at its Silicon Valley headquarters to reveal a new HTC device with an Android OS modified to reflect ‘Facebook Home’. True to its word, Facebook isn’t making its own smartphone per se, but is creating a deeper Facebook ‘forked’ version of Android.

This isn’t the first joint project by Facebook and HTC, with previous collaborations resulting in the not very successful Cha-Cha and Salsa smartphones.

Facebook invited press to take part in a ‘New Home on Android’ event at its Menlo Park headquarters at 10am Pacific time on 4 April.

Various rumours suggest a device that will have a 4.3-inch display, will come with a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage as well as a 5-megapixel camera and 1.6-megapixel front camera. The device is understood to be very similar in appearance to Apple’s iPhone 5, including a home button, and that’s the device Facebook and HTC intend to compete with above all others.

The idea is that the device will bring Facebook’s key features such as News Feed and messaging directly onto the home screen, in a way that is similar to the stunning Blink Feed feature which can be seen on the new HTC One.

The new device is expected to debut mid-2013 and according to reports Facebook has been hiring Apple iOS developers to work on the project.

Last week it emerged that Facebook disabled web access to its home page within the company in order to get developers and engineers to focus on building products in a “mobile first” manner.

According to a report on 9to5google.com both HTC and Facebook have been collaborating on a marketing campaign in California which are designed to focus on the potential of the device rather than the hardware or software.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years