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Android Cellphones Communications Facebook Handhelds Social Networks

Facebook Said To Be Developing Phone With HTC 78

Posted by timothy
from the hey-the-weasels-said-the-words-first dept.
ProbablyJoe writes "AllThingsD is running a series of stories this week about a possible new Facebook phone, codenamed 'Buffy.' The phone is said to be in development by HTC, who collaborated with Facebook earlier this year for the Salsa and ChaCha/Status phones, which both had physical Facebook buttons, and a degree of integration with the social network. While these rumors have been going around for quite a while, the article contains some new information, and neither Facebook or HTC are denying the rumors. The phone will be based on Android, but like Amazon's Kindle Fire, will be heavily modified to integrate with Facebook, potentially using Facebook's HTML5 platform. While we're unlikely to see any official announcements or releases any time soon, Facebook are eager to compete with Google and Apple, and are likely to want a phone of their own on shelves as soon as possible."
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Facebook Said To Be Developing Phone With HTC

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  • Privacy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:14AM (#38135768) Journal

    Oh neat.

    Two of the most privacy-destroying forces joined together!

    • All Your Data Are Belong To Us.
      • I can see the facebook phone now... its microphone eavesdrops on your retail transactions and catalogues your purchases. It senses other people with the facebook phone in near proximity and suggests that you may know them. It removes the bother of checking yourself in to every commercial location you pass through. When you walk by a store it alerts you to go in and check out a sale. It bleats and mooos when your Farmville farm needs attention. (I can see it now, drivers mowing down pedestrians because the c

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's HTC with facebook, not congress with facebook.
    • Re:Privacy! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:33AM (#38136042) Homepage

      Two of the most privacy-destroying forces joined together!

      Yup, you'll be constantly prompted to enter your email address and password so it can find people to put into your contact book. At least, until it deems you have enough contacts ... yeah, like I'm giving you my password.

      I'm sorry, but I don't trust Facebook with factual information about me ... I'm sure as not going to trust them with my telephone information or a password to another system.

      However, I bet there's going to be a market for this.

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        The constant prompting to link contacts to Facebook friends is already a feature or many Android phones, especially the ones running Sense.

        Nothing new there.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          The constant prompting to link contacts to Facebook friends is already a feature or many Android phones, especially the ones running Sense.

          Yeah, well, Facebook will get only the information I give them, and I don't much care what they want. I'm still not giving them a password to my email account, and it's none of their fscking business the phone numbers of my contacts.

          Zuckerberg can give me his password first as a show of good faith.

        • Don't worry, MSFT is going to save us from all of this. I hear they have this cool new "KIN" phone that is great for social networking.

        • by Stalks (802193) *
          Constant prompting? My now retired Desire only ever asked once on setup.
      • by mikael (484)

        I'd have thought they would have moved to fingerprint, face or iris recognition since these devices all have cameras.

      • by AlexW52 (2514574)

        Two of the most privacy-destroying forces joined together!

        Yup, you'll be constantly prompted to enter your email address and password so it can find people to put into your contact book. At least, until it deems you have enough contacts ... yeah, like I'm giving you my password.

        I'm sorry, but I don't trust Facebook with factual information about me ... I'm sure as not going to trust them with my telephone information or a password to another system.

        However, I bet there's going to be a market for this.

        And, they'll constantly be updating your ringtones without telling you, and changing the way you dial. Maybe some days in reverse? Or, others in the order of the most popular numbers?

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I'm sorry, but I don't trust Facebook with factual information about me

        So what's the point of using it?

    • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:43AM (#38136172)

      Buffy the privacy slayer.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Oh neat.

      Two of the most privacy-destroying forces joined together!

      Yes, just wait for the law making use of this phone compulsory and we're practically in Orwell's 1984!

      Oh, wait...

  • by Georules (655379) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:21AM (#38135866)

    With Buffy, though, the integration will go much deeper, bringing friends and social activities deep into the mobile interface.

    Is this supposed to be a sexual joke or is this article just terribly written?

    • Looking at the picture illustrating the article and knowing that the main design aim of Facebook was to spy on Mark's ex-girlfriends (and never-have-been-girlfriends), I guess that your idea of bad writing is just wishful thinking.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Is this supposed to be a sexual joke or is this article just terribly written?

      Sarah Michelle Gellar bent over a table showing cleavage, holding a Facebook phone with a graphic of dripping blood ... definitely sexual, likely not a joke ... just trying to figure out who the metaphorical Vampire is in this one.

      I wonder if that's an 'official' Facebook phone photo, or something the site did in photoshop.

      • Damn, I'm going to actually read this article now!
      • just trying to figure out who the metaphorical Vampire is in this one

        Yeah, my first thought before I even saw the graphic was, "Why would a vampire want to name a phone after someone who's going to kill it?"

      • by need4mospd (1146215) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:34PM (#38136944)

        Kristy Swanson bent over a table showing cleavage, holding a Facebook phone with a graphic of dripping blood ... definitely sexual, likely not a joke ...

        Fixed it for you.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Fixed it for you.

          Really? I'm pretty sure this [allthingsd.com] is Sarah Michelle Gellar ... but, I'm willing to entertain the fact that I can't tell the difference between two skinny blondes. :-P

          I only knew the TV series ... and even that only a little. To me, that looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar. That, of course, doesn't make me correct. :-P

          • by Algae_94 (2017070)
            Have no fear, your ability to tell the difference between skinny blondes is quite functional. That is Sarah Michelle Gellar. I think need4mospd is a Buffy purist that believes only the movie with Kristy Swanson matters.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:23AM (#38135900)
    I'm looking forward to having a private conversation with my doctor or lawyer posted into all my friends voicemail boxes due to an unannounced "improvement" in the phone's security profiles.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      I'm looking forward to having a private conversation with my doctor or lawyer posted into all my friends voicemail boxes due to an unannounced "improvement" in the phone's security profiles.

      ...Or an important call interpreted with "chantell276 has commented on your picture"

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @01:02PM (#38137370)

      "But you can opt out of this!"

      (You just have to slap on your fedora and run through the Temple of Account Settings)

  • Everything you will ever do in the future will be recorded, analyzed and measured. The data will be sold. You will get lots of advertisements that you cannot block. Oh, and the phone will be illegal in Europe.

  • Skeptical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macwhizkid (864124) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:30AM (#38135986)

    I just don't see this working out for well for Facebook. History is littered with examples of successful software companies that thought their brilliance extended to hardware. It almost never works out; they inevitably rediscover not only that hardware is an order of magnitude more challenging to get to market than software, but customers are much less forgiving about flaws and bugs when they can't be fixed with a simple update.

    But in this case especially, I don't understand what kind of core assets Facebook can leverage on their own device that they're not getting elsewhere. With Google at least it made sense that they didn't want their search platform ignored amidst a sea of apps (though in many ways the world is still going that way, even on Android). But what exactly can a "Facebook phone" offer that an iOS/Android device with the Facebook app can't?

    Clearly they think they have an answer to that question, or at least they're worried enough about the diluted (and deluded, for that matter) social network landscape to make themselves believe they've found one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by schlesinm (934723)

      I just don't see this working out for well for Facebook. History is littered with examples of successful software companies that thought their brilliance extended to hardware. It almost never works out; they inevitably rediscover not only that hardware is an order of magnitude more challenging to get to market than software, but customers are much less forgiving about flaws and bugs when they can't be fixed with a simple update.

      It's not just software to hardware transition that is hard, but web app to consumer device. Right now, Facebook controls all updates and can make all changes completely under their control. With a Facebook phone, any update will need to go through the phone manufacturer and the carrier to get it out. And we have seen how hard it is for Google to get phones up to the latest release.

    • I'm sure there are some people who are so much hooked to face book and want to become moreso that they will buy the phone.

      HOWEVER.

      How many people really feel that the current apps arn't linking them in to facebook enough?

      I can't imagine many people place "facebook" as a high priority when choosing a phone.

      • I can't see people buying a phone just for Facebook primarily because every phone out there already handles Facebook pretty effectively. They can't really offer greater integration. What could they do, slap a physical button on it to open facebook?

        • Make it play facebook games natively.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I can't see people buying a phone just for Facebook primarily because every phone out there already handles Facebook pretty effectively. They can't really offer greater integration. What could they do, slap a physical button on it to open facebook?

          Well, yes. It wouldn't exactly hurt their online presence if people pressed "Facebook" instead of "Browser", would it?

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Well, how abourt we let facebook sell their phone and see what happens, eh?

        I personally couldn't care less, but you can hardly criticise facebook for trying to expand their brand.
    • by nolife (233813)

      Facebook has very little to lose and much to gain from getting into various hardware. This phone sales when compared to quantity sold of other models could be a bust but the real goal is not total sales. The more devices on the street that have Facebook integration, the harder or less likely people will be to switch to a competing social network. Think of all of the media boxes and internet connected televisions, blue ray players etc that have things like embedded like Netflix and Facebook. All of the c

    • by ADRA (37398)

      If there's any truth to this story then their rationale is most likely the result of Google blocking their contacts/accounts and dialer integration. I'd personally say that Google's stance on data extraction is quite fair (What's good for the goose is good for the gander), but it means that Facebook is crippled on Android devices, and almost certainly never be fully integrated on IOS.

      Once again, if in fact this story's real (of which I'm personally skeptical) I don't see it being a success. They have two op

    • ...Will not end well for Facebook. I can say with a degree of certainty that most FB users have not said "You know... I wish I had a phone that was like Facebook. One that can expose all my secrets and intimate moments for all the world to see without my consent! I never liked privacy anyways!"
    • by GuB-42 (2483988)
      Google don't sell hardware. Android is an OS and most of the low level code is not written by google. Google phones (Nexus...) are like any other android phones, designed and produced by hardware companies. The only thing it that they are used as a reference by developers.

      As for the facebook phone, I think that it will end as just another android phone with a slightly more tightly integrated facebook app. It doesn't need more than this, the fact that it is labeled "Facebook" is the important part. It is
  • Eager to compete? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CruelKnave (1324841) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:31AM (#38136012)

    Facebook are eager to compete with Google

    I wouldn't have thought that releasing an Android phone counts as competing with Google. It may be heavily modified for Facebook usage, but somewhere along the line, Google will still be making money from it, yes?.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think part of it is a defense mechanism from facebook. Google will potentially heavily integrate google+ with android. Given how mobile is becoming so popular with consumer, facebook wants to make sure they do not get caught flat footed in the near future.

      • by HJED (1304957)
        They can't integrate it too heavily because a reasonable sized demographic for Android Phones (teenagers) can't use Google+ as it is limited to people under 18 (whilst this is obviously mitigated, I would wager it is one of the primary reasons for Google+'s failure.)
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I think part of it is a defense mechanism from facebook. Google will potentially heavily integrate google+ with android. Given how mobile is becoming so popular with consumer, facebook wants to make sure they do not get caught flat footed in the near future.

        But why should facebook care about the half dozen or so people who use Google+ instead of facebook?

    • by inpher (1788434)
      Facebook has its own ad network essentially bypassing Google's potential revenue, that is the reason I suspect it might indeed be a threat to Google, however, it remains to see if Facebook is going to go into search and related areas. Facebook could conceivably do an Apple/Siri-like move since Siri only uses Google as a last resort while going directly to the sources (Yelp, Wolfram Alpha, Yahoo Finance & Weather). Siri could conceivably easily be extended with additional data sources and so could a Face
  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @11:53AM (#38136306)

    There are several social networking phones in the works- not just the facebook phone.

    Facebook Phone: Invites people to talk to you that you didn't call.

    iGoogle Phone: Built in GPS drives you in circles.

    Despora Phone: Offers greater security but you need to wait a year after placing the call for the call to go through.

    Twitter Phone: Phone only lets you speak a sentence per call and lets anyone hear.

    MySpace Phone: No one uses this phone and all phone calls get talked over by "male-enhancement" ads.

    • by CaptBubba (696284)

      Don't forget the Bittorrent Phone: arrives piece by piece, each taped onto one of five thousand postcards.

  • Do not want!!

    (not that a big majority of the population won't want this)

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:19PM (#38136680) Homepage Journal

    Is it like this [phonedog.com]?

    Well, you can buy that now [att.com].

    And this winter, we read that there is not only a Facebook phone [phonedog.com] coming (albeit no sign of this particular one yet), but there's more than one [phonedog.com].

    Hey, when do we get new news, huh?

    • by schlesinm (934723)
      AllThingsD [allthingsd.com] has a series of articles on this where they talk about the multiple attempts of a Facebook phone. They investigated creating a phone from scratch (hardware/software/distribution/carriers/etc.) and eventually gave up. The newest attempt is the one that's leaking out now with HTML5 Facebook layer on top of Android with HTC building the hardware.
  • Really now? Facebook are eager to compete?

    Is we educated in English here too?

  • Maybe they should instead focus on fixing their piece of crap existing mobile apps first. I can only really speak to the Android app although I've read in the past that the iPhone version has lots of complaints, too. To say the Android Facebook app is completely awful in every way is putting it too nicely. A few revisions back they did away with the native feel altogether; now the feed appears to be some sort of embedded web view into the mobile website. It is slow to scroll, doesn't always register cli

  • Thought it said: "Facebook Sad To Be Developing Phone With HTC"
  • Didn't they already do this?

    And wasn't that phone, well... crap?

    HTC Chacha, it already happened.

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