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Welcome back, ‘Facebook phone’

Along with an iPhone nano and an iPad mini, rumors of a “Facebook phone” have repeatedly piqued interest as they come and go. The first round of reports surfaced in 2010, but was shot down when Facebook denied that it was working on its own smartphone with hardware and software partner HTC. The handsets that were thought to be Facebook phones ended up being unveiled the following month as the HTC Chacha and HTC Salsa, but consumers weren’t terribly interested in mid-range Android phones with a dedicated Facebook sharing button. Rumors resurfaced this past November before dissipating as quickly as they came, but now — whether or not consumers are actually interested in the possibility of a Facebook-branded smartphone — talk of a Facebook phone has returned once again.

Citing unnamed industry sources, DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that Facebook and HTC are jointly developing a smartphone. The device will be a “customized smartphone” presumably based on Android, and it will launch in the third quarter this year at the earliest.

The report draws a number of comparisons between the secret Facebook phone project and HTC’s previous efforts with Google on the Nexus One, suggesting that because Samsung has taken over as Google’s Nexus partner, HTC is looking elsewhere for branded Android projects. DigiTimes also claims that Samsung has likely been tasked with building the next Nexus phone, though no additional details were made available.

The Facebook phone currently under development is said to have a “platform exclusive to Facebook,” enabling deep integration of Facebook services and providing a variety of custom functionality. How the device might handle private user data is unclear.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Zach Epstein

April 25th


How the Original Facebook Phone Failed [Facebook]

Facebook is working on a phone! But Facebook has been working on a phone. What's new? Well, it's a completely different project because their first top secret effort crashed and burned. It's a sordid history of employee jealousy, secret plans, power struggles and just plain failure. More »

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Casey Chan

November 22nd


HTC reportedly tapped to build Facebook phone, code-named ‘Buffy’

Last year, there were plenty of rumors that Facebook was working on building a phone of its own. Ultimately, a pair of humdrum devices with a simple “Facebook button” ended up hitting the market, and the rumors stopped… until now. On Monday, AllThingsD said it has learned that Facebook is working closely with HTC on a new phone currently codenamed “Buffy.” The device will supposedly run a modified version of Android that, obviously, will put Facebook’s services smack in the faces of its users. The two companies are also working to add support so that developers can write HTML5 apps for the phone. “Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social,” a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD, declining to comment specifically on the secret phone. ”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.” Facebook has repeatedly denied any interest in creating an own-brand device and the spokesperson’s quote is on a par with what the company has said in the past. 


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Todd Haselton

November 21st

October 2015
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