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Oh God, Another Phone, This One from Facebook

We are on the verge of an optimized Android-based Facebook phone that boots directly to Facebook when it’s turned on

Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s many denials and his public repudiation of such a strategy, if rumors published lately in the very nicest places are true, we are on the verge of an optimized Android-based Facebook phone that boots directly to Facebook when it’s turned on.

Naturally enough it’s supposed to exploit Facebook and is targeted mainly outside the US so those laggards in Brazil and India can be monetized.

Facebook is expected to announce the moderately priced touchscreen phone Thursday and say it’s made by HTC using a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with a gig of memory, a 4.3-inch screen and a five megapixel camera.

What would be really novel is if the phone worked like an old-fashioned land line did back in the blessed days of the AT&T monopoly, but of course practically nobody who uses a cell phone these days can remember that halcyon era when phones actually worked.

Perhaps it will have new – equally trashy functionality – like an alternative to Microsoft’s Skype.

Anyway, the putative Facebook widget is supposed to include a search tool that depends on Facebook users for answers and a mobile news feed.

Since phones are ever so important to Facebook users, Facebook wants to be close to its users. See, two-thirds of its billion users now log in to the social network on mobile devices.

Facebook already lets users chat, send group messages and in certain cases make calls over the Internet as well as functions as an e-commerce platform and – since it insists on real names – an identity verification service.

So what it can bring to the party is unclear.

The press invitation to the Thursday revelation at Facebook headquarters reads “come see our new home on Android.”

The rumors sent Facebook shares up.

Surveys indicate consumers aren’t interested in a Facebook phone sight unseen.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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