Facebook readies smartphone launch

Facebook readies smartphone launch
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

April 4th 2013 at 10:40AM

Social networking giant expected to reveal partnership with HTC for new mobile and Android-based OS

Facebook is expected to reveal its plans for a strong push into mobile later today.

The social networking giant has sent out press invites to journalists in the UK and US to “come see our new home on Android”, sparking speculation on what this might mean for Facebook’s mobile plans.

A new Android-based OS customised for Facebook use is expected, which will aim to make the social network a core function of how a smartphone operates through a downloadable application, bleeding into how people text, use their camera and make phone calls.

The Guardian has reported that the software will be shown off on a new HTC mobile tailored specifically for the OS called Myst, effectively making it the long-antipated Facebook smartphone.

The mobile is thought to have been in development for two years, previouslys under the codename 'Buffy'.

Features of its new mobile software could be set to include the ‘uberfeed’, which makes news and updates visible from the locked homescreen, while enhanced caller ID will provide extra information on contacts such as their location and previous whereabouts.

A change of direction in the mobile space could have huge ramifications for games and developers. In its current form, the social network drove 263 million clicks to the Apple App Store and Google Play through its mobile news feed in February.

With better integration into mobile, Facebook could look to ramp this up, or even make its own roster of games available to play on mobile.

The announcement will take place at 6pm this evening, and will also be livestreamed from the Facebook newsroom, here.