Facebook Phone? Social Networking King To Hold 'Android' Event Next Week


The long-rumored Facebook phone may finally be a reality.

Facebook has scheduled a media event for April 4, and the invitations read "Come See Our New Home On Android." The invitation suggests the social networking giant does indeed have an Android device on tap.

According to TechCrunch, the device will indeed be a Facebook smartphone that will feature HTC hardware and a modified version of Google's Android OS that has "deep native Facebook functionality." So while the device will not run a Facebook-built mobile operating system, the new Android version will reportedly be different that other Android releases.

[Related: Facebook Launches New Social Search Engine]

For years, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied reports that his company would build an actual physical smartphone. But, a steady stream of rumors and reports in recent years indicated Facebook had set its sight on increasing its mobile computing presence.

Last May, following Facebook's lackluster IPO, The New York Times reported that the company had added significant headcount, including some ex-Apple engineers, to help develop a mobile phone play for Facebook. In addition, previous reports had claimed Facebook and HTC were working on an alliance to produce a mobile device.

Along with rumors of a Facebook phone, the social networking company has also made other moves in the mobile market. At Mobile World Congress 2013, Facebook announced new partnerships with 18 mobile carriers in 14 overseas countries to offer free or discounted access for Facebook Messenger on mobile devices.

PUBLISHED, MARCH 29