multiple publications, mobile manufacturer HTC was readying either one or two so-called Facebook phones for launch at next month's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. The smartphones would be the first to display Facebook's branding and colors, and would offer deep integration with Facebook services.New rumors about a Facebook-branded phone resurfaced this week. Again, Facebook has shot them down. According to
What Was the Rumor?
Both BGR and City A.M. published rumors about the upcoming phones, with some hazy details on what the devices would offer. In BGR's case, the source was a tipster who served on a recent focus group for what he or she believed was a "Facebook phone." Based on the questions asked during the focus group session, BGR believed the new phone would offer always-on GPS and possibly automatic check-ins, location-aware coupons for Facebook Deals, a ticker-style message notification system on the device's homescreen and more.
City A.M. offered a similar report, noting that the tweaked version of Android on the phones will prominently display Facebook News Feed messages on the homescreen. It would also have integration with Facebook contacts, letting you call or email friends using the contact information they've stored on Facebook. City A.M. also identified the manufacturer as HTC.
But a Reuters news report from today has squashed these Facebook phone rumors.... yet again. (This isn't the first time we've heard reports of a Facebook-branded device, actually. But last time, the manufacturer was unknown).
According to a statement made by Dan Rose, head of business development at Facebook, at a company event in London, "the rumors around there being something more to this HTC device are overblown," he said. He also flatly denied the phones would support Facebook branding.
But HTC is Doing Its Own Facebook Phone?
So, wait. Rewind. HTC is launching a phone (or phones) featuring deep Facebook integration?
Apparently so. "This is really just another example of a manufacturer who has taken our public APIs (application programing interfaces) and integrated them into their device in an interesting way," Rose said, which essentially confirms that this device (or devices) do exist and that HTC is behind them.
But you just can't call it a "Facebook phone" because Facebook didn't make the phone itself. And it's not blue. And there's no Facebook logo on it.
The phones, the earlier reports say, will be unveiled next month. And both the older and newer reports say that two top-level Facebook engineers, Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos, are involved. We'll have to wait until next month to find out what the truth is, it seems.