is really coming. It's called Buffy, and is expected to arrive in the next 12-18 months. It is "planned to run on a modified version of Android that Facebook has tweaked heavily to deeply integrate its services, as well as to support HTML5 as a platform for applications, according to sources familiar with the project."Today, AllThingsD announced that the Facebook HTC phone
While the Buffy news seems striking, it is actually just confirmation of Facebook's serious leap into the mobile space, which has already been in the works for more than a year.
Rumors about this very Facebook-branded HTC phone circulated back in January, and Facebook shot them down. At Mobile World Congress last February, HTC launched "Facebook Phones" a.k.a. the HTC Salsa and the HTC ChaCha, which offered deep integration with the social networking service. Facebook access was baked into HTC's Sense user interface.
In July, Facebook unveiled a mobile application called Facebook for Every Phone, which is designed to work with 2500 feature phones across cellular carriers worldwide.
Just last week, Facebook partnered with French cellular operator Orange. As our own Dan Rowinksi reports, Facebook is aiming "to bring cheap cellphones with dedicated Facebook functionality to emerging markets in Africa and Europe. Three devices will have a special F button for unlimited Facebook access to 15 countries beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011."
The Facebook phone was imminent, considering the fact that Apple baked Twitter into iOS 5, at which point it became even more clear that there was never going to be Facebook integration into iOS 5. Will Facebook finally make its mobile move?
Tell us what you think of Facebook's mobile foray in the comments.