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HTC To Launch Facebook Smartphones At MWC2011

Just over one year after Google launched its first smartphone, the Nexus One, Facebook is going to team up with HTC - Google's traditional sparing partner - to launch its own Facebook branded mobile phones.

HTC, which is wrongly referred to by CityAM as a Korean manufacturer, is said to be planning to launch a pair of Facebook branded mobile phones next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The smartphones, which will be targeting the high end of the market, will come with Facebook's branding and colour scheme and more importantly will feature a customised version of Google's Android operating system.

Facebook features are expected to be tightly integrated in the new mobile environment with user messages and news feed appearing prominently on the home screen; the contact book is also said to be significantly overhauled and will merge contact details and phone numbers.

CityAM cites Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos as being the two front men for the presentation at MWC 2011; both of them have been working on the two most prominent open source browsers on the market, Firefox and Google Chrome.

Both were mentioned in an article published in September 2010 by Michael Arrington from Techcrunch where he said that Facebook was "secretly building" a phone.

It is not the first time that a Facebook phone has gone for sale; the INQ1, launched in 2008 and built by INQ Mobile, part of the Hutchinson Whampoa company, was the first social smartphone to come with unified contact, Facebook Chat, messaging and other Facebook services.

Two weeks ago, Unwiredview pointed to a new phone called the INQ Cloud Touch, one which bears the design model number T2-219U, and is described as being an Android smartphone having Facebook built into its core.

The description added that "The homescreen features multiple entry points to different Facebook functions, while a dynamic widget displays a feed of status updates, albums, videos and photos."

As for CityAM, it is a pretty reliable source since it taps its sources from the Square Mile, the financial hub, in London. It revealed that the Nexus S was going to be sold in the UK exclusively through Carphone Warehouse.