HTC Developing the Phone Facebook Won't Make
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is adamantly against the idea of a branded phone. As the producer of the world's largest social network, the company has little interest in becoming a manufacturer.
That did not stop HTC from producing a BlackBerry-shaped (NASDAQ: BBRY) smartphone with a dedicated Facebook button. At the time HTC believed that it could piggyback on the Facebook brand and produce a device that was capable of competing with Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone. That strategy failed miserably, however. Instead of buying the HTC Status, consumers turned to the Samsung Galaxy S II (and other Samsung smartphones) for their Android fix.
Last year Bloomberg TV reported that HTC had teamed up with Facebook to work on a new smartphone. Despite the report -- which was referred to as "breaking news" -- Facebook executives insisted that the company had no plans to enter the smartphone business.
In fact, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly stated that his company will not produce a smartphone.
Now the rumors of HTC and Facebook are taking a different turn. According to UnwiredView.com and the EVLeaks Twitter account, HTC is developing another Facebook-inspired handset. The device will reportedly include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch screen with 720p resolution, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (no microSD slot), and support for Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2.
If these specs are accurate -- EVLeaks said they came from a previously reliable source -- then HTC is falling a bit behind its South Korean competitor. Samsung is rumored to be packing the Galaxy S IV with everything but the kitchen sink. If the reported specs are accurate, the device could feature a quad-core 1.8GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a five-inch HD display (1920x1080). That's vastly superior to HTC's offering.
In addition to being underpowered, the HTC "Facebook" phone must also endure the scrutiny that comes with this level of branding. The Facebook button was not a cool feature two years ago; what could HTC do today that would be any better?
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