In spite of the previous rumor denials, the absence of official confirmations from HTC, and a personal statement from Mark Zuckerberg declaring that a Facebook phone wouldn’t “make sense,” speculations regarding the two companies’ smartphone project have nonetheless re-emerged within the tech scene. As recently reported by The Droid Guy and UK’s Pocket-Lint, the alleged handset, codenamed “Opera UL,” is currently undergoing internal tests and, despite “delays,” may be set for a possible 2013 or 2014 release.
Should the reports prove to be accurate, one can reasonably expect the “facebook” handset to feature a 1280×720 HD display, a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, and a Qualcomm Adreno 305 chip (as indicated in the picture above). The platform powering the smartphone, on the other hand, is suggested to be none other than Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Whether this will be a “modified” version of the operating system –as Bloomberg stated months ago—remains uncertain at this point.
With confirmation pending from the Taiwanese manufacturer and the social networking giant, looming curiosity is certain surround the alleged Facebook smartphone. While Facebook’s downplay of past rumors may still be fresh many people’s minds, Zuckerberg’s previous hiring of iPhone and iPad engineers, as noted by Slashgear and CNET, give us plenty reasons to be hopeful. It is reasonable to assume from this recruitment that a potentialmobile project may be underway, even without the specific purposes outlined.
One more thing we’ll probably be hearing is the debate concerning the utility of melding the social network concept into a smartphone. As interesting as a “Facebook” handset sounds on paper, not everyone is likely to be convinced of its potential, seeing the ease at which the social network can be accessed from practically all of today’s smartphones and mobile products. Worth noting, too, are HTC’s Salsa and Chacha. Technically the “first” facebook handsets (with the integrated facebook button), both devices ended with forgettable, lackluster market performances and gave users little to write home about.
Without much else that can be reliably confirmed or dispelled at this moment, it is safest to treat the latest HTC-Facebook phone as a rumor until further evidences arise. The only thing certain, at this point, is that the “social networking” phone, if ever released, will find itself in a playground filled with aggressive and hungry competitors. It will be interesting to see whether Facebook will choose to employ a market share strategy much like Amazon and Google.