Facebook phone to debut next month?

HTC will pull the wraps off two smartphones bearing Facebook's brand and colors next month, according to the latest rumor.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's belittling of the idea of burning the social network's brand on a smartphone has done little to squash the rumors that such an animal will be unleashed this year. The latest prediction is that Taiwan-based phone maker HTC will pull the wraps off two smartphones bearing Facebook's brand and colors at an event in Barcelona next month.

The phones will run a "tweaked" version of Google's Android operating system and will prominently display their owner's Facebook messages and news feeds on the phone's home screen, City A.M., the online edition of a London-based free business newspaper, reported today in a story citing unnamed sources.

Another feature will be the ability to e-mail or call friends from information located on a user's Facebook page.

Joe Hewitt, who developed the Facebook app for the iPhone but left the platform in a huff, and Matthew Papakipos, director of engineering at Facebook, are thought to be behind the launch, according to the business newspaper.

Similar reports of a Facebook phone appeared last fall. At that time, Bloomberg reported that INQ Mobile was working on a pair of Facebook-branded smartphones that would be released in Europe during the first half of 2011 and in the United States in the second half of that year.

This story, "Facebook phone to debut next month?" was originally published by PCWorld.

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