Facebook to launch HTC-built smartphone in 2013?

The world's largest social network, Facebook could be looking to build a smartphone with HTC (perhaps that elusive Buffy) with a release window scheduled for mid-2013. By then, Facebook will probably have more monthly active users than the population of both China and India!

According to Bloomberg, which cites "people with knowledge of the matter," the company wanted to release the smartphone by the end of 2012 but had to push back the launch to give HTC more time to work on its own portfolio.

Facebook is said to be developing a modified operating system for the smartphone, possibly based on Google's Android platform (in a similar way to Amazon's Kindle Fire). Facebook is under pressure to generate revenue (either through advertising or otherwise) from mobile users which accounts for more than half of its active users.

There are many so-called Facebook smartphones on the market already, which can be identified thanks to their dedicated blue buttons (Alcatel, HTC, Inqmobile, Motorola or Huawei).

There's even a rather good looking mockup of a concept phone designed by Michal Bonikowski and not so long ago, I wrote that Facebook could buy Opera and use its Unite technology to create a revolutionary P2P smartphone.

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