While rumors of a Facebook phone in collaboration with Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has been circulating for some time now, Bloomberg is reporting that the result of that collaborating will be arriving ‘mid-2013’ on a breaking news Twitter post. There are no additional details about the joint collaboration and neither HTC nor Facebook has commented on these ongoing speculations.
In the past, Facebook had said that it would be focusing on mobile for growth, but the company did not elaborate if mobile meant developing more functionality into its mobile app and bringing its app and app store for Facebook onto more platforms and devices, or if focusing on mobile meant developing and bringing new hardware to the market.
If Facebook enters the hardware market, one strategy the company can use–especially if it partners with Android veteran HTC–is to base its phone on Google’s mobile Android OS platform and heavily skin the device to be Facebook-centric. This would be a strategy that’s akin to what Barnes & Noble is using for its Nook tablets and what Amazon is employing for its Kindle Fire slate.
With Android, Facebook can use its own payment mechanism and app store to generate additional revenues as well.
Facebook and HTC had collaborated previously on an early Android smartphone. In the U.S., that phone debuted on wireless carrier AT&T as the HTC Status, a device with a touchscreen and BlackBerry-style keyboard along with a Facebook button for easy uploads and sharing with the social network giant.
A prior survey showed that many consumers may not be interested in a Facebook-centric phone, which may be true given privacy concerns.