According to City A.M, HTC have been chosen to manufacture two new Facebook-branded smartphones which will launch at Mobile World Congress, starting next month.
The devices are said to feature Facebook’s branding and colours with the partnership seemingly confirming rumours of a Facebook phone that first started circulating in September 2010.
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The smartphones will run a slightly modified version of Android and are likely to display news feeds and status updates on the homescreen. Other modifications could include the ability to call friends using information located on their Facebook page, linking profiles to contacts and automatically pulling updates.
It is thought that Facebook’s Joe Hewitt (creator of Facebook’s iPhone application and Firefox developer) and Matthew Papakipos (formerly one of the chief members behind Google Chrome browser team) are the key figures leading development of the smartphones.
Facebook might have chosen to partner with HTC because of the smartphone manufacturers experience in providing alternate user interfaces for its Android phones. HTC may have been employed for its build quality but also because it would be able to provide Facebook with something similar to its Sense UI which offers users the ability to further customise their Android handsets.
City A.M were the first to reveal details of the Samsung Nexus S coming to the UK, so these rumours could have legs. We have contacted Facebook and HTC for clarification and will update as soon as we hear back from them.
Update: HTC returned our email, as expected they said “we do not comment on rumour and speculation”.
Update 2: A source close to the matter contacted us and told us:
“You can be pretty confident that there will be something on them announced.”
Seems to lend more credibility to the story and makes us even more excited for Mobile World Congress.