updated 06:41 am EDT, Thu July 26, 2012
HTC product pipeline forces delay in Facebook smartphone
The previously rumored Facebook smartphone that is to be made by HTC is said to have been pushed back into 2013, reports Bloomberg. The new device is expected to run a specially customized version of Android, but be built around the Facebook platform. Sources familiar with the matter say that although previously set for a debut sometime in 2012, the new smartphone will be pushed back into 2013.
The delay is said to be due to HTC shifting its priorities as it needs more time to work on other products in its pipeline. The company has come off the back of two weak quarters as it struggles to compete with the marketing muscle of Samsung. Although Facebook is keen to leverage the mobile space, the delay is expected to give it more time to refine its plans for the mobile OS.
The two companies have previously collaborated on smartphones, with deeper than usual Facebook integration. The HTC Salsa and ChaCha devices included dedicated quick access functionality. With both companies struggling in the mobile space, the collaboration could prove to be of mutual benefit if they get the formula right. A long running criticism of Facebook is that it has failed to successfully monetize the millions of mobile users of the social network.
Facebook is also reported to have hired several former Apple software engineers to give its iPhone app a much needed performance overhaul. It is also thought that the new hires will also make significant contributions to the customized Facebook version of the Android OS. What is unknown at this time is how extensive those customizations will be; they could be as simple as a custom skin, or could go deeper and fork the OS in the same way that Amazon has with the Kindle Fire OS.