Facebook tipped to launch HTC-powered smartphone on 4 April


Facebook is expected to take the wraps off its first phone on 4 April, with a little help from Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC.

The social networking giant is planning to showcase the device at a press event on Thursday, which will run a modified version of the Google Android operating system, according to a recent New York Times report.

Invitations for the event urge attendees to "Come see our new home on Android", adding further weight to the article's claims.

A Facebook employee, quoted in the article, claims the device has been engineered so that core features of the phone, such as the camera, will be tightly integrated with the social networking site.

The Android Police site has since leaked details and screenshots of what it claims is a system dump from the Facebook phone, which is rumoured to be called the HTC Myst.

The hardware specs touted by the site suggest the phone will be powered by a Qualcomm MSM8960 dual-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM, and feature a 4.3-inch 720 pixel resolution.

"This is, basically, a HTC Sense 4.5 phone...[but] it has a special Facebook app that isn't available anywhere else," the site states.

The emergence of a Facebook phone has been rumoured for some time now, with many industry watchers predicting the firm would take the wraps off its first smartphone back in January.

Instead, Facebook unveiled the beta version of its Graph Search service, which is designed to make it easier for users to search and retrieve information about their friends.

Meanwhile, back in October, the company used the opening of its UK tech hub to outline the work it was doing to deliver an improved mobile experience to its users.

Speaking at the time, Mike Schroepfer, vice president of infrastructure at Facebook, explained: "If you look at the history of our approach to mobile on these things, it started with just getting a Facebook experience on a mobile device.

"We invested a lot in web technologies because it was a way to [deliver] an experience to all those devices and we used the same technique for smartphones very quickly...and we have started to explore and improve that," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.