Mark Zuckerberg has done a good job, thanks to the help of his PR team, of brushing off Facebook Phone rumors to a point that we in the media just haven’t given up on. But lo and behold, Facebook has sent out invitations to a press event on April 4 to “Come See Our New Home On Android.” Speculation says we can expect to see an Android OS tweaked to Facebook’s liking on an HTC handset.
Deny as Facebook may, the social network stole away key Apple iOS developers and just about every “Facebook insider” can’t keep their mouths shut. And at the same time, looking at Facebook’s recent releases should more than hint it’s going all-in on mobile: Poke, Facebook Messenger, and the Instagram acquisition. This upcoming announcement likely has something to do with Facebook pushing its Web app to the wayside and forcing developers to access Facebook through their mobile devices to concentrate on its mobile products. The Facebook’s future hinges on mobile, and clearly we’re about to see to what extent.
Recent reports have pretty much figured out what the phone will look like. 9to5Google’s sources say it will feature a beveled design with rounded edges, something of a nod to Apple’s iPhone, and that there will be a Facebook home button. The last feature shouldn’t be news to you if you’ve ever seen previous (failed) smartphone collaborations with HTC and Nokia. Earlier “Facebook phones” like the HTC ChaCha and Nokia Asha 205 both had a prominent Facebook home button. The size of the display is rumored to be 4.3 inches.
The phone is suggested to run a 1.5Gz processor, 1GB of ram, 16GB of storage, along with a 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.6 megapixel camera on the front. according to UnwiredView.
Hardware is likely an afterthought of the Facebook phone, however. What Facebook wants to do with this device is sell is the experience and solidify itself as a lifestyle brand.
It also gives Facebook an unprecedented amount of access to even more of our data and user habits. It has access to your calendar, contacts, what time you’re most active on your phone (maybe to ping you with alerts), location, along with mounds and mounds of other data. This is information that Facebook has been trying to get us to provide – but with the phone, it wouldn’t have to try. It would already have it all.
This resurrects the digital age old question of how willing we are to let Facebook into our lives. The social network is no stranger to privacy concerns, and handing over all our mobile data is asking quite a lot. The device’s success will hinge on what Facebook can offer us in return.