Bloomberg reports that Facebook has tapped HTC to build a smartphone that could launch as soon as mid-2013. According to Bloomberg’s sources, the companies originally planned to release a Facebook-branded device as early as this year, but the timetable was moved back to give HTC time to work on other products.
Facebook said in a statement that its “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.”
To help design its phone, Facebook has hired several people who were involved in the development of Apple’s devices, including Greg Novick, who helped create touchscreen interfaces; Tim Omernick and Chris Tremblay, who developed software; and Scott Goodson, who worked on a stock-market application.
Facebook and HTC have teamed up before. Last year, HTC worked closely with the social network before launching the Android-based ChaCha phone, which features a dedicated Facebook button for sharing music, pictures, and messages.
It’s thought that Facebook’s smartphone will use a forked version of Android.