Following years of rumors and speculation, Facebook is finally readying an entry into the mobile phone market. The social network is hooking up with HTC which will design the hardware. The two companies have been working on a major marketing campaign in Southern California in recent weeks.
According to people familiar with the development of the marketing campaign for the Facebook/HTC phone, the advertisements are designed to focus on the potential user of the device, not on the hardware or software. As a nod to this phone being a much expanded version of the Facebook application found on iOS and standard Android devices, one of the tag-lines for the device is “more than just an app”.
The idea is that Facebook and HTC are selling their phone and OS as a lifestyle brand, not specifically for its hardware or software. Facebook and HTC previously hooked up on the Salsa and Cha-cha devices which frankly flopped. This will be a deeper, forked version of Android rather than a Facebook-ified version of Sense. The hardware and software for this phone are competitive with the current mobile device landscape. It is unclear if the company is announcing its phone at its event next week. TechCrunch says that the event will discuss a Facebook OS based on Android at the very least.
Sources who have seen the Facebook/HTC smartphone hardware in-person say it is reminiscent of an iPhone. It includes an iPhone-like “home button” on the bottom center, and this button is surrounded by horizontal function keys on the right and left side. These buttons are said to be capacitive.
Above the keys is a display slightly larger in size to the 4-inch display found on the iPhone 5. Recent rumors have pointed to a collaborative Facebook/HTC phone featuring a 4.3-inch display.
The phone hardware, itself, is said to be about the size of an iPhone 5. The phone sports rounded edges and the design is fairly beveled. It will feature a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 1.6 megapixel front-facing camera.
The phone’s software is a forked version of the Android operating system. Facebook’s features, like messaging, photo uploading, and contacts integration is fully integrated throughout the operating system.
Our sources also say that it is likely Facebook and HTC are already in discussions with at least a couple of cellular carriers around the world about carrying the device.