Cross your fingers, cross your legs. Cross your arms and bow your head. The seemingly never-ending rumor mill spinning around the idea of a Facebook phone may finally come to a stop next week. Or it may not.
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The social network just sent out press invitations to an event at its 1 Hacker Way headquarters in exactly one week. "Come See Our New Home on Android," the invitation read. Based on that line and the most reliable details floating around the blogosphere, Zuck and company will finally give us a peek into the future of its mobile strategy. Whether that's an actual Facebook phone, a Facebook-built mobile operating system or just a new app, we won't know until April 4. That said, we've been waiting to find out for a solid 18 months.
Despite the company's consistent denial of the rather durable rumors of a Facebook phone, everyone seems to agree that this April 4 Android event will be a big deal. As TechCrunch points out, the event is a full hour longer than the last one! The blog's Josh Constine reports that "it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality that may live on an HTC handset." Constine adds, "It's said not to be a full-on rewrite of Android, but rather a 'flavor' that will have all sorts of extra Facebook functionality built in." The rest of the blog post reports that this detail or that detail "could" be true no less than seven times.
There's plenty to doubt about Constine's reading of the old Silicon Valley tea leaves. For one, Mark Zuckerberg and seemingly everybody else has denied the existence of a Facebook phone at one point or another. "We're not going to build a phone," Zuckerberg said on the company's latest earnings call. "It's not the right strategy for us to build one integrated system." But, those durable rumor mongers would say, he's not ruling out deep Facebook integration in an Android phone! No he's not. He's also not ruling out the possibility that Facebook would build a tablet or a laptop or a dirt bike or a hovercraft.
The one thing that's certain about this April 4 event is that Facebook is going to make an Android-related announcement. It ought to provide some clarity in the company's mobile strategy and hopefully calm some of the breathless bloggers who are eager for the social network to get eye-to-eye with Apple. Past reporting from trustworthy sources does suggest that HTC will be involved, but we won't know until we know. Until then, Facebook fans, take it easy. The truth is out there, but boy is it elusive.