The Facebook phone has been rumored since quite a while now, and according to a new TechCrunch report, the social network might unveil the phone at the press event this Tuesday, invites for which have already been sent out to media outlets.
TechCrunch contributor MG Siegler sources this information from multiple sources who tell him “expect some sort of Facebook Phone to be on display on Tuesday.” He doesn’t have any additional information on what the phone would look like? Would Facebook make the hardware? Would the OS be in-house developed or just an Android fork? But we can answer some of those questions (not with surety obviously) if we look back at some of these rumors.
A report from November 2011 claimed that Facebook is developing the phone on top of a forked version of Android, just like Amazon and partnering with HTC for the hardware. Another report stated that Facebook was poaching Apple engineers, who worked on the iPhone, for their own mobile OS. There’s one thing though: According to the 2011 report, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor was leading the phone project, and Bret Taylor, has, since then, left Facebook.
But Facebook has also done a lot things that would seem as if it’s preparing for the release of an Android based phone:
- It added Voice (VoIP in Canada, one-way voice messages in other countries) to its already solid standalone messaging app.
- It’s encouraging its employees to use Android phones to dogfood the Facebook Android app, which could be present on the Facebook phone as well.
- It’s significantly developed its mobile advertising platform, which is the reason it’s venturing into this space in the first place.
- Instagram, the photo sharing service, was acquired by Facebook in an attempt to stay relevant in the mobile photo sharing space.
So Facebook already has a lot of services and apps that form a core portion of the mobile experience: photos, camera, messaging, voice, social and app discovery. But there are a lot of areas where it’ll need to partner with other companies: music, mapping, mobile video chat, search and so on.
Josh Constine of TechCrunch also adds that Facebook’s working with automobile companies to integrate its voice messenger into cars:
We heard a tip Facebook is building automobile integrations techcrunch.com/2013/01/13/fac… that would jive with it launching voice messaging last week
— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) January 13, 2013
Car integration at the time of the launch would be a nice feature to have for the Facebook phone.
Would you buy a Facebook phone given the deep integration it would have with the service?
Image credit: Business Insider