Facebook has sent out invitations to an event on April 4, where it promises to reveal its "new home on Android." The invitation sparked a fresh round of rumors about a forthcoming "Facebook phone."
TechCrunch's Josh Constine reported, "Facebook just invited press to an event at its headquarters on April 4th to 'Come See Our New Home On Android.' Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset. The evidence aligns to say this is the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about for years. One source recently told us to be on the look out for a Facebook mobile press event in early April where the social network would reveal an altered Android OS running on HTC. It’s said not to be a full-on rewrite of Android, but rather a 'flavor' that will have all sorts of extra Facebook functionality built in."
9to5Google's Mark Gurman added, "Following years of rumors and speculation, Facebook is finally readying an entry into the mobile phone market. The social network is again hooking up with HTC which will design the hardware. The two companies have been working on a major marketing campaign in Southern California in recent weeks. According to people familiar with the development of the marketing campaign for the Facebook/HTC phone, the advertisements are designed to focus on the potential user of the device, not on the hardware or software. As a nod to this phone being a much expanded version of the Facebook application found on iOS and standard Android devices, one of the tag-lines for the device is 'more than just an app.'"
PCMag's Stephanie Mlot noted, "Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has denied reports that Facebook will actually build a physical phone itself, insisting that consumers should instead 'expect to see dozens of phones with much deeper social integration than we have so far.'"
In related news, IDC has released a Facebook-sponsored report that surveyed smartphone owners about their Facebook use. Mashable's Chris Taylor observed, "Think you use your phone to look at Facebook a lot? Unless you're doing it at least 14 times a day, you're actually below average....[Facebook is] only the third most popular app on your smartphone, after email and the browser. Still, 70% of smartphone users are frequent Facebook visitors, with more than half of them checking it every day."