updated 06:35 pm EST, Mon November 21, 2011
HTC Buffy may be true Facebook phone
Facebook's long rumored self-made phone has been given a codename and details in a leak Monday night. Nicknamed Buffy, intentionally named after the Joss Whedon TV series, the phone mentioned to AllThingsD would run a customized version of Android. It would overcome its frequent animosity towards Google by not just deeply integrating the social network but using HTML5 for apps, letting it run the new crop of titles from Zynga and others designed for Android and iOS browsers as though they were native apps.
The choice of HTC was so recent that Facebook was still well away from having more details about the hardware. It might not ship for another one to 1.5 years, the tipsters said. Company CTO Bret Taylor is purportedly leading the project, which has so far been kept secret.
A Facebook representative wouldn't confirm or deny the phone. Instead, he repeated the company's common statement on the mobile strategy, where every device was better if it was "deeply social." Facebook works with carriers, hardware an OS designers, and individual app makers, it said, not addressing the question.
HTC turned down any comment.
Many had thought that HTC would be making an official Facebook phone this year. It partly fulfilled these expectations with the Status (pictured). In practice, however, it was a typical HTC Android phone that happened to have a Facebook shortcut key rather than any instance of tight collaboration.
If Buffy goes ahead, it could jeopardize Facebook's relations with multiple companies. Facebook recently resumed warming up relations with Apple, possibly giving the iPad special treatment, but may face trouble if it bases its first smartphone on the platform Apple has sworn to eliminate. Microsoft, which has a stake in Facebook, would likely force the social network to pay royalties just for using Android and would take offense at its own Facebook integration in Windows Phone and Skype being undermined by a deal with Google.