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Facebook to Introduce Android Smartphone

March 29, 2013

By Paul Thomson :: 9:09 AM

Facebook Phone to debut next week.Facebook yesterday sent out a press announcement inviting journalists to “see our new home on Android” for an event to be held on Thursday, April 4.

That invitation is likely the debut of the long-rumored Facebook phone. These rumors go back nearly three years, when speculation abounded that Facebook would enter the mobile market with a stripped down phone targeting Facebook users.

According to sources close to the project, the Facebook phone will be a heavily modified version of an HTC handset running Android and tweaked to Facebook’s specifications with the social network ingrained throughout the operating system.

A very popular modified Android solution is exactly what Amazon’s Kindle tablet is doing in the marketplace, with much success. If Facebook were to be successful with this venture, it could prove to be a competitor to Apple and Samsung handsets much the way the Kindle is to iPads and Galaxy tablets.

One thing a modified handset will provide to Facebook as the world’s largest social networking company, is incredible, unprecedented access to user data. Location information, call and text data, web browser history, etc., would all be available data for the network to mine from its user base who purchase the phone.

The amount and close personal nature of this data would give Facebook an even better way to profile its users, and serve them ads and other offers more closely targeted to their interests. Privacy advocates will likely be paying close attention next week to see if Facebook addresses any of these points.