Do you remember the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa? No? I didn’t figure you did as HTC’s first-gen Facebook phones didn’t really make any sort of huge impact in the market when they were originally released in the middle of 2011. Apparently that hasn’t discouraged Taiwan manufacturer HTC though. Rumors have surfaced today saying that the company is working on another Facebook phone that is headed for a launch in 2013.
UK tech blog Pocket-Lint is reporting that the phone in question is currently going by the code name of HTC Opera UL. Now, this new handset has been reported that it is going to be an OEM phone, meaning one manufactured by HTC specifically for Facebook purposes. As an example, the Nexus One was manufactured by HTC but was branded for Google. Some recently posted Nenamark benchmarks for the Opera UL suggests that the handset will be running off of a 1.4GHz dual-core processor. The benchmarks did not show the specific description though. The benchmarks also show that is it going to be sporting a Adrena 305 GPU all on top of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and a 720p display (a specific resolution wasn’t given). It is also worth nothing that some earlier leaks of the handset have suggested that we will be seeing a forked version of Android as opposed to a Google-approved build of Android.
Today’s report on this leak echos a story from Bloomberg a couple of months ago. That report originally suggested that a modified or “forked” version of Android would be being used in the HTC built Facebook phone that would be released in 2013 after various delays prevented a late 2012 launch. Of course, with some very big launches here in 2012, maybe a delay was the best move for HTC. We wouldn’t want this phone to just get buried under all of the big names.
Pocket-Lint’s report has said that the Opera UL has indeed been delayed, although it isn’t very clear whether this is referring to the original delay to 2013, or if this is going to be another setback thus the Facebook-branded phone getting pushed back any further than what was originally intended. It’ll be interesting to see how well this phone will do with the huge competition between Android and iOS along with the entry of Windows Phone 8. As you know, the original HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa did not do very well, so I am pretty curious how well the HTC “Opera UL” will do.
With how well Android and iOS has been doing, I’m not very sure that a fully-integrated Facebook experience will be a huge selling factor when we can already experience Facebook easily on Android, iOS and now Windows Phone 8. BlackBerry 10 is also on the way, and we can access Facebook from that as well. That said, I already feel like we have a rather large Facebook experience and we really don’t need something that is fully-integrated. I guess we’ll just have to see when the phone eventually launches in 2013.
source: Android Central