There’s a tradition in Google’s household to select one manufacturer to produce the Nexus smartphone every year or so. HTC was chosen to produce the first Google flagship smartphone, and the result was the Nexus One, released in January 2010. Samsung’s rise to the top made Google hand out the next two golden tickets to the South Korean company. Thus, we saw the birth of the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus.
The fourth Google Nexus phone is still hotly contested, but it appears that HTC is out of the game. According to Digitimes, it’s all but certain that HTC won’t be making the Google Nexus smartphone this year, with Google reportedly keen on continuing the collaboration with Samsung. The sources also said that Samsung’s ability to control the supply of key components was one of the deciding factors.
In response to Google’s apparent shunning, the same industry sources said that HTC is now in talks with Facebook to create a “Facebook phone”. More than just offering a shortcut button that launches an app, the new HTC and Facebook Android phone (to come in Q3 2012 at the earliest) will integrate all the functions that have turned the social networking website into a worldwide phenomenon.
Digitimes says that the Android phone will run on a platform that is “exclusive to Facebook”. This may indicate that Facebook will try to fork out its own deeply customized version of Android, just like Amazon did with the Kindle Fire. We did hear a few days ago about major companies working to fork Android…
Apparently, the new Facebook phone will fit in perfectly with the social networking company’s overall development strategy. With the impending initial public offering of Facebook happening in May, expected to be the largest Internet IPO ever, Digitimes’ sources said that Facebook is keen on expanding its investments and revenue sources.
This bodes well for HTC, which may have just found a worthy ally in Facebook. We’re banking on HTC to take the next Facebook phone many notches up over the HTC ChaCha. What do you think? Do Facebook and HTC stand a chance to succeed with a Facebook phone?