Report: Facebook prepping Android-powered smartphone OS

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Rumors have been circulating for quite some time now about an indigenously branded Facebook smartphone powered by Android and ready to take on Apple's wildly popular iOS.

Well, reports of such a device have increased in recent days, and there now appears to be a real chance that Facebook will unveil its own Android-based operating system to the smartphone world.

Yes, Facebook has sent out invitations to journalists asking them to "Come See Our New Home on Android." The invitation outlines an event slated to take place on Thursday, April 4 at 10 AM Pacific time. Expectations are that Facebook will finally be launching its own purpose-built operating system that will presumably focus heavily on its social networking expertise.

Sources who claim to be familiar with Facebook's plans say the OS will be built on the Android operating system and boast deep integration with a smartphone hardware from HTC.

Unsurprisingly, the social networking site isn't expected to unveil a completely new reworking of Android, but rather, a version of the versatile mobile OS with extensive Facebook integration and a user interface (UI) that closely resembles the social networking app for the iPhone. For example, the operating system is said to feature items like a home screen with newsfeed updates and access to Facebook-connected applications.

The event is being held in Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters in California and is scheduled to last about three hours. Interestingly, there has been some speculation that perhaps Facebook could be where Andy Rubin, the father of the Android operating system, will land after his stint at Google. As you may recall, Rubin is no longer in charge of Android at Mountain View.