Bloomberg cites “people with knowledge of the matter” claiming that a collaboration between Facebook and HTC could see the two launch a smartphone in mid-2013.
Allegedly, the device was due for release at the end of this year but was delayed to allow HTC more time to work on other products.
The phone will run on a new operating system to be developed by Facebook, which may be a modified version of Android, Bloomberg reports.
Rumours of a Facebook smartphone hit their peak around the time of the company’s IPO in May, when it became apparent that its weakness lies in monetising the mobile market.
Facebook has already taken on a team of former Apple employees to help improve its iPhone app and the social networking giant is keen to capitalise on the mobile market. Branching out into hardware could be its best method of doing so.
More than half of Facebook’s 900m members access the network on a mobile device and, if the rumoured phone transpires to be a reality, a Facebook smartphone could give these users a seamless mobile experience, directly connecting their mobile activities to their accounts. It could also give Facebook more avenues for advertising on the mobile platform.
Amazon is also rumoured to be planning a smartphone launch, meaning the market could be a lot more crowded in years to come.