Facebook OS To Be Unveiled This Thursday

Last week, Facebook sent out an invite for its latest press event, taking place on Thursday 4 April in the US. The last few announcements Facebook has made havent been too earth-shattering, frankly, and without much of a focus on mobile. But with this invite reading Come see our new Home on Android, it should be a whole different story.

According to a leaked APK file found by Android PoliceFacebook will be unveiling their own mobile OS at the event – a modified version of Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), integrating the social network throughout. The APK shows that the app will affect the layout of the homescreen, presumably displaying notifications and contacts, and will require the user to sign in with their Facebook account.

The OS will initially be available on a HTC phone, currently codenamed Myst. The handset is a fairly mid-range affair, with a 4.3” screen, 1.5Ghz processor, and 1GB RAM – but that shouldnt matter too much, as HTC already has a USP to help differentiate and sell the device.

Well have to wait until Thursday for official confirmation but given how well substantiated the rumours are, it looks like thats all it will be – final confirmation, and the full details of how exactly the OS will work.

Strand Consult comments:

According to Strand Consult CEO John Strand, focusing on the role of HTC and Android ahead of this announcement misses the bigger picture. 

“It doesn’t matter that the concept will be launched with an Android operating system on an HTC smartphone,” says Strand. “If Facebooks new concept works, it will become the standard for phones and operating systems. Not only are OTT companies such as Facebook rendering mobile operators into dumb pipes, but they are making all smartphones into dumb terminals. If all users want is Facebook, then there are few ways that operators and phone manufacturers can differentiate with services or hardware.

“This announcement is an important milestone for investors, for it demonstrates that the gold-mine for Facebook is not advertising, operating systems or hardware. The key for Facebook is to monetise its users for the very communication it offers: SMS, voice, and data-enabled services.”