Facebook To Press: ‘Come See Our New Home On Android’

By David Cohen 

Droid does it: Facebook announced a press event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday (April 4), with the invite reading, “Come See Our New Home on Android.”

Facebook’s last two press events in Menlo Park have produced pretty big news: The social network introduced its revamped News Feed March 7, and the social network unveiled Graph Search Jan. 15.

In typical Facebook fashion, the invite to Thursday’s Android event provided no further details, but speculation about what the social network will announce is already touching on several potential answers.

Sources told TechCrunch Facebook will reveal a modified version of the Android operating system, including deep, native Facebook functionality, possibly on a smartphone from HTC. According to TechCrunch, the source said the OS would not be a complete overhaul, but a “flavor” with extensive Facebook functionality, or an application layer, and even possibly a Facebook-heavy home screen called Facebook Home.

Of course, just about every Facebook press event brings the obligatory Facebook phone rumors along with it, despite consistent denials by Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the company will pursue that strategy.

The March 2013 edition of the Facebook phone rumor is brought to you by 9to5Google, which reported that Facebook and HTC have been working on a “major marketing campaign” in Southern California over the past few weeks, and that one of the tag lines for the campaign is, “More than just an app.”

9to5Google speculated that Facebook and HTC will pitch the phone and operating system as a “lifestyle brand,” and not focus on either the hardware or the software.

Sources who claim to have seen the device told 9to5Google it features a home button in the center on the bottom, similar to the iPhone, along with horizontal function keys on either side.

According to 9to5Google, the sources also spoke of a 4.3-inch display (the iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display), rounded edges, a 1.5-gigahertz processor, 1 gigabyte of random-access memory, 16 GB of internal storage, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a 1.6 megapixel front-facing camera.

Another theory that has nothing whatsoever to do with a Facebook phone comes from Jean-Baptiste Su of Forbes, who speculated that Andy Rubin — who had been senior vice president of mobile and digital content at Google, with oversight over Android, until March 13, when Google announced that he would “take on new projects” with the company — will join Facebook.

Su pointed out that Rubin is no longer working on Android, adding that he recently updated his Facebook profile with a new cover image and profile picture.

Readers: What do you think Facebook will announce Thursday?