Here we go again. Reports from AllThingsD suggest that the world’s largest social network is working with HTC to build, develop and release a Facebook phone and the project, code-named “Buffy,” is being spearheaded by Facebook CTO Bret Taylor.
The details are actually pretty sparse but AllThingsD is promising that it will have a full series about this Facebook phone this week, so it’s probably just doling out what it knows to keep us clicking. The HTC Facebook phone is supposed to run a modified version of Android and it will use the HTML5 capabilities of the latest redesign to let users buy and use apps. As you may know, the HTML5 version on the iPhone doesn’t let browsers use Facebook Credits within its apps, which cuts into Facebook’s future revenue plans.
Facebook had previously said that its mobile goals weren’t about a Facebook phone but about Facebook phones, as the company wants to be integrated across as many devices as possible. We’ve already seen devices with dedicated Facebook buttons like the HTC Salsa and devices from Motorola and INQ but the world’s largest social network may have larger mobile ambitions and Apple and Google aren’t going out of its way to help.
Apple’s iOS 5 brought Twitter integration for things like URLs and photos and while it’s nice, you have to imagine that most iPhone users would have preferred native Facebook integration but Apple and Facebook have a somewhat testy relationship. As for Google, the maker of Android is already using the platform to push its Facebook competitor, as users are prompted to sign up for Google+ when setting up an Ice Cream Sandwich device.
The HTC Facebook phone reports indicate that this is in the very early process, so it may be a year or 18 months before we actually see the thing but it’s always good to see new blood in the mobile space. Would you buy a Facebook phone?