Samsung being favored by Google for a second and now a third time too, apparently, might push HTC into making a Facebook phone, it has been rumored. Due to the sales and supply chain power that Samsung has, and following the success of the first two Nexus handsets, also the result of collaboration between Samsung and Google, this is immensely likely. We’re not really sure about that driving HTC into making a Facebook-centric handset though.
As you might recall, HTC released two phones earlier on that had special Facebook hardware buttons and overall greater Facebook integration. HTC Facebook phones such as Salsa and ChaCha didn’t do too well. Both HTC and Facebook have refused to comment on such rumor and speculation as well. Despite this, reasons for the social networking giant and the Asian handset manufacturer to work together do exist. HTC, as mentioned earlier, has missed out on a chance to produce another flagship Android device like it did the Nexus One. Looks like Google is happy to stick with Samsung for now, which also produced the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus. Working with Facebook would offer HTC a shot at an exclusive smartphone success. As far as Facebook’s interest in this whole matter is concerned, the company supposedly wants its very own phone.
Facebook is going to go public later this year and will apparently need to find new sources of revenue then. The Facebook phone will act as one such source.
Although these reasons sound solid, there are equally solid reasons opposing the entire thing as well. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said that Facebook’s goal is not to build a handset to compete with the iPhone or anything of the sort. He said this in 2010, and things may have changed now but it is still unlikely. For one, Facebook is earning enough through apps, pasting plugins all over the web, ads and the like. For another, 2012 is HTC’s year to focus. The recently released One series by HTC has garnered appreciation and it makes sense for HTC to stick to the three devices in the series for now, in accordance with the plans for this year instead of throwing out numerous handsets like before. Plus, why would HTC even want to go down the whole Facebook phone road after Salsa and ChaCha?
If the Facebook phone does become reality, it is likely that the handset will support a heavily modified Android OS. Facebook obviously already has an Android app, as well as several alternatives to it, too but this could be a new, heavily customized platform that Facebook could completely control and have all the features that the desktop version does and that are missing from apps for smartphones.
We’ll have to wait and see if this whole thing is just a myth or not. If the Facebook phone does become reality, is a good quality not overly expensive phone, we can imagine several people being interested in it. Despite rising privacy concerns, Facebook’s popularity has not been dented and the company could perhaps generate sales especially when the device is produced by HTC, whose recent smartphones are proving themselves. The Facebook phone made by HTC, if ever, will be released by Q3, at the earliest but it could take up to twelve to fourteen months as well.