Industry buzz points to Facebook smartphone, a modified version of the Android operating system in an association with HTC

Facebook will next week unveil its latest push into the mobile world — and industry watchers are convinced the social network is about to launch a Facebook-branded phone.

Media has been summoned to an event at Facebook’s headquarters in California on April 4, with teaser invitations bearing the words “Come See Our New Home on Android”.

HTC tie-up

The world’s largest social networking site is giving no further clues, and the announcement could be nothing more than a new service or application, but detailed leaks suggest the company is about to release the fruits of a long-rumoured collaboration with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC—a smartphone whose software is a customised version of Google’s Android operating system.

While the camera and memory are reportedly run of the mill, its software may be unique. With a similar look to a black iPhone, the phone is supposedly packed with Facebook services, with easy access to its instant messaging and Instagram photography applications, and a home screen displaying the owner’s news feed.

“You have a good version of all the Facebook features you know and want on your phone. So now the next thing we’re going to do is get really good at building new mobile-first experiences,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told investors in January.

‘Facebook Home’

The project may be called Facebook Home, according to TechCrunch, and its software will be a tweaked version of Android with Facebook built-in functions.

In recent weeks, details for the Facebook phone have been published on Twitter by two anonymous sources, one of whom is close to HTC. In January @LlabTooFeR published full details of the phone’s camera, screen size and processing power.

The source claimed HTC and Facebook were developing a handset, codenamed Myst, that would be available on the U.S. network AT&T, would be 4G compatible, and would have a physical Facebook button. This month @evleaks, another source of early news on mobile development, published a similar list of specifications. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013