Facebook is set to hold an event this week in which it will showcase its “new home on Android”, with speculation pointing to an HTC-made device which features deep integration with the social networking service.
It has been suggested that the device will see the traditional Android home screen replaced with a new app called Facebook Home, which (unsurprisingly) places the company’s own services front and centre.
For example, Facebook’s messaging, photos and contacts apps will take priority over the standard Android applications, with the ability to deliver information from users’ Facebook feeds to the device home screen.
Earlier reports suggested that Facebook was developing a “modified operating system” for the device, although this appears to have been scaled back to enhancing the standard Android platform – and thereby preserving compatibility with the existing Android content ecosystem.
While the updated software has currently been linked to the HTC device, it has also been suggested that Facebook Home may be available as a user-installed app for hardware from other manufacturers.
The new software would debut on a device from HTC codenamed “Myst”, which has a mid-tier feature set.
Running Android 4.1.2 with HTC’s Sense 4.5 customisation, it also features a 4.3-inch display, dual core Qualcomm processor, and 5 megapixel camera.
There has been significant speculation in the past that Facebook would offer its own smartphone, although the arguments against this seem stronger than those for.
By offering a new home screen which can run on multiple Android devices, it will be able to extend its reach without the need to actually go to the effort of building its own hardware.
And HTC also has some history of working with Facebook, for example unveiling two devices in 2011 which included a hardware button dedicated to the social network.