Facebook keeps world guessing over first smartphone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 7:38am

Facebook will this week unveil its latest push into the mobile world - and industry watchers are convinced the social network is about to launch a Facebook-branded phone.

The media has been summoned to an event at Facebook's headquarters in California on Thursday with teaser invitations bearing the words "Come See Our New Home on Android".

The world's largest social networking site is giving no further clues, and the announcement could be nothing more than a new service or application.

But detailed leaks suggest the company is about to release the fruits of a long-rumoured collaboration with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC - a smartphone whose software is a customised version of Google's Android operating system.

While the camera and memory are reportedly run-of-the-mill, its software may be unique. With a similar look to a black iPhone, the phone is supposedly packed with Facebook services, with easy access to its instant messaging and Instagram photography applications, and a home screen displaying the owner's news feed.

In recent weeks details for the Facebook phone have been published on Twitter by two anonymous sources, one close to HTC.

In January @LlabTooFeR published full details of the phone's camera, screen size and processing power.

The source claimed HTC and Facebook were developing a handset codenamed Myst, that would be available on the US network AT&T, would be 4G compatible and would have a physical Facebook button.

Meanwhile Apple sought a patent for an iPhone that has a display that wraps around the edges of the device, expanding the viewable area and eliminating all physical buttons.

Apple's patent filing shows a phone similar to a flattened tube of glass, inside of which a display envelops the chips and circuit board. This allows "functionality to extend to more than one surface of the device", the filing said.