HTC Myst: Putting Facebook First


The social giant Facebook is always looking for novel ways to engage more and more users. Although the much hyped about “Facebook smartphone” never really took off, Facebook is still persistent on grabbing more of the user mind space. A Facebook phone would have been highly redundant as every user is now happy with Facebook’s current range of apps. However, Facebook wishes for a more seamless experience for their users. They wish to tie-in with a virtual phone function that is similar to what their users do on the social site – Calendar events, messaging, photos, contact information and other such applications.

Thinking is only half the job, time to execute. What better way to make this happen than by plugging into Android. HTC and Facebook go way back, to the days of the Cha Cha and Salsa. This time around, Facebook is looking to develop an app that can plug-in to the Android OS on the device. The conventional Android home screen might be replaced with content taken from the users own social feed. This will effectively do away with the need for the existing app icon. Such a customization will need a few minor adjustments to the OS.

For many days, Facebook has been inviting people to their event, amidst many speculations. The Android-centric event is rumored to contain news of the mythical “Facebook smartphone”. Among these rumors, HTC filed an FCC application recently for the “Myst” (rumored to the “Facebook smartphone”). HTC’s ‘Open Handset Alliance’ is in jeopardy as Google is against the forking of Android. The very well publicized issue of the Alibaba Android forking, to which Acer was eventually forced to withdraw any support, shows how ticked-off Google gets regarding this matter. HTC will not be looking to jeopardize its Google connection by forking Android for Facebook. However, minor customizations will allow HTC to continue working alongside Facebook without drawing any heat from Google.

Facebook is driven to increasing the overall time spent on its network. Their motto of “putting Facebook first” seems to be catching on with HTC as well with those who are looking to sustain the heat from competitors like Samsung, Sony and LG. In the possible scenario that the launch turns out to be big the revelation for the new “HTC Myst” or “HTC First” for which it is expected to be officially called, HTC has a daunting task of convincing the millions of Facebook users to make this switch. A seamless Facebook experience is a certain winning point, but not entirely. HTC needs to pack in other features such as an Ultra-pixel camera. A lower priced phone can also go a long way to appease the customers.

The new Android-centric Facebook App may have shades of HTC’s own ‘BlinkFeed’ feature. The Facebook app however, would serve a more Facebook-centric data stream such as messages, comments, and wall posts. HTC may be delivering the first fully Facebook focused Android phone, but negotiations are on to bring other manufacturers into the fray. If this move pays off, more and more users will be hooked onto Facebook through Android itself.