After years of denying, Facebook is on the verge of releasing its own smartphone, made by HTC. What is more interesting is that the device uses Google’s Android software. According to people briefed on the matter, Facebook will announce the phone at a news conference on Thursday in the company’s Monte Carlo headquarters.
Facebook has declined to share details of the event, but a spokesperson named Derick Mains said it would be a “significant mobile-focused announcement.” The invitation sent out to the press says, “Come see our new home on Android.”
From the invitation we can guess, the software used in the phone is a modified version of Android that transforms some core features of the phone around Facebook’s services. This transformation of Android for Facebook can be compared to Amazon’s development of Android for Kindle. Amazon shredded down the freedom of Google apps by leading the customers toward an Amazon-centric experience.
But, would a Facebook phone gain enough traction? Would it be a viable option for consumers to settle for a Facebook-centric experience over others? Analysts have doubt about that. Telecom analyst Jan Dawson of Ovum said the concept was “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.” Added to this, Facebook would need support from carriers to make its phone successful. And, that’s unlikely.