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Facebook’s worldwide tech-driven Manifest Destiny continues. This time it’s with a phone, named Buffy. Because it will slay the market. Seriously.
AllThingsD got the scoop. In the first of a series of weeklong posts about the new Facebook phone, the site reports that Facebook recently chose HTC as its hardware partner, and that the phone could hit the market in 12 to 18 months.
As consumer technology continues its evolution from computers to tablets and cell phones, the mobile arena is becoming more and more lucrative. Apple, which recently released its iPhone 4S, and Google, which seemingly releases a new phone every hour, currently have a stranglehold on the smartphone market. Facebook wants a chunk of that pie. And although both competitors run Facebook apps (Facebook claims 350 million active mobile users), Buffy plans to go even further with smartphone social integration.
A Facebook spokesman didn’t comment on Buffy directly, but told AllThingsD: "Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world."
So how is Facebook planning to take on Apple and Google? By using Google’s Android OS, of course. AllThingsD reported on Tuesday that Google made Android open source, allowing Facebook to tweak the Android code without even having to pay Google. If Facebook tweaks too much, though, they won’t have access to Google services, like its app-peddling Android Market, and its software would also become difficult to update when the search giant releases new versions of Android.
The tech pundits are already weighing in, and they already appear to have their concerns.
ZDNet, for instance, riffed that a Facebook phone "may be the equivalent of having a KGB agent tailing you," because the phone would likely broadcast every move to your Facebook friends. And Forbes doubts Facebook is making the right move by delving into the smartphone market, questioning if the Buffy could even make a competitive impact.
Lest we remind you, however, that people hate every new change Facebook makes, until they don’t.