The much talked about disclosure of Facebook’s mobile venture is about to be witnessed soon. They have chosen the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC to be their partner in creating smart phones with the social network at their cores. The smartphone is decided to be called as “Buffy” named after a television series. Cool name it is.
The phone is expected to incorporate a modified and improved version of android so as to integrate Facebook’s own services along with a support for HTML5 as a platform for applications.
Facebook has long been considering options for their potential partners for hardware and Korea’s Samsung was one them. Collaboration with HTC being the very recent news gives an impression that the product needs to have pretty much time to get launched and will be available in 12 to 18 months probably.
Buffy project has witnessed a lot of administrative changes and is now being led by Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, who has been worked upon in the company for two years now. Though the officials of both the companies (Facebook and HTC) refrain from giving statements about the ongoing activities concerning the phone but according to some non-official resources the company is targeting to connect more and more people into their social network through this venture. They have a simple strategy i.e. mobile devices are better if they are deeply social.
With other challenges faced by this social networking giant, stepping into smart phones business seems essential for the company.
Though it plays only a supportive role by being an app for different smart phones, the social site boasts 350 million active mobile users along with its relations with 475 global mobile operators.
Facebook has different meanings for different users. For some it is only a place to share daily happenings. For others it has provided ways to share memories by being a phone app which uploads the photos from the phone memory and also connects to the people in our phones address book. But with Google and Android trying to deploy social networking through Google+ and Twitter respectively, little can be said about Buffy’s future.
The project seems to be an important one for Facebook right now which has been focusing on collaborating with mobile companies for hardware oriented more towards social networking, of which the collaboration with HTC is a fruit.
Many companies such as Inq Mobiles, Motorola as well as HTC have introduced a dedicated button for Facebook in their phones. The Salsa and Chacha were also introduced by HTC earlier this year. Facebook-centric phones to target the emerging markets of Europe and Africa were announced by the France Telecom’s Orange unit. But Buffy aims to go deeper in integrating social networking by bringing friends and social activities deep into the mobile interface.
It is for us to wait and watch how Facebook turns its pronouncement of “mobile are inherently social” into reality.