[Photo Credit: PocketNow]
Last Fall, rumors surfaced that the Mark Zuckerberg team would produce a Facebook phone to compete with the likes of Google, Samsung, and Apple. At one point, it was said that Facebook did not want to become merely an application on the smartphones of other tech giants. The day after the rumor was published, tech sites such as Business Insider and TechCrunch expressed their disgust over the concept and wrote articles about how the venture was going to fail. The rumor has persisted over the last several months, even down to a week or two ago when Zuckerberg said, “We’re not producing a Facebook phone.” This, however, is a mixed message – particularly when you consider that Facebook just added Wi-Fi calling as a feature for its iOS application. Wi-Fi calling is a feature of smartphones, not social media sites. Google has its own Wi-Fi calling feature, but it is available on laptops and PCs only. In other words, Facebook is not thinking like a social media site but like a hardware manufacturer who wants to create a smartphone some time in the future. Whether it wants to be a smartphone carrier or manufacturer (and I’m placing my bet on the latter rather than the former), the Zuckerberg team has bigger future plans than just updating its app and making it more fun to communicate via iOS.
This week, an Android smartphone has been put forth as the first possible Facebook experiment: enter the HTC Myst. HTC Corp. is a company that has not had many successes in the smartphone world as of late. While its HTC DLX comes as a five-inch, 1080p smartphone that is one of HTC’s better models (along with the HTC Evo 4G and HTC One X), there are other phones that have not been as successful. HTC has solid smartphones, but it does not stack up to the likes of Samsung, Google, and Apple. It seems that, in some sense, Facebook does not want to lag behind Google in the social media battle, and HTC does not want to lag in the smartphone race. These two seeming “underdogs” find themselves in the same boat. Why not combine the greatness of HTC with the hype of Facebook into a new smartphone?
The HTC Myst is the solution to the needs of both companies. The so-called solution, if it debuts soon, will come with the following features and specs:
- 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera
- 5-megapixel rear-facing camera
- 4.3-inch display
- 1280 x 720 screen resolution
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB memory storage
- 1 Ghz, Dual-core processor
- Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
- Facebook Button
The HTC Myst has an internal memory storage that is standard when compared to the iPhone as well as Google and Samsung phones. Still, I think that Samsung leads the way in smartphone memory storage. Its 32GB Galaxy S3 that offer a micro-SD card slot for memory expansion is one of the most loveable features about the aging smartphone. The 4.3-inch display is a step in the right direction, although its display is small when you consider the number of phones with displays that are 4.5 inches and higher. The 4.3-inch feature, however, is in good company with some low-end smartphones.
Other features and specs reveal that the smartphone will probably be a low-end: the cameras and screen resolution. The rear-facing camera will only be 5 megapixels, not a high enough spec to count as an ultra HD experience. Those who purchase the camera, thus, are not concerned with having true high-definition photos. The screen resolution is, as Android Authority has said about other smartphones, “so last year.” Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has a 1280 x 720 screen resolution, but the Korean manufacturer wants to increase the screen resolution this year (Google’s screen resolution is greater than 1280 x 720, its Nexus 4 screen resolution coming in at 1280 x 768 (320 ppi). The dual-core processor is another giveaway as to the low-end nature of this smartphone, since the new processing standard for smartphones this year is shaping up to be quad-core or octal-core processors instead of dual.
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean will be the phone’s OS, not a bad start for a phone in 2013. Still, it will be rather obsolete when compared to Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, the newest Android OS that will emerge this coming May at the Google Input/Output (I/O) event. The one rumor that will turn heads is the possibility of a Facebook button on the HTC Myst. Facebook is currently a free, social media app available for download from both the Google Play and the App stores, so anyone can launch Facebook from the home screen. While Apple stressed Facebook integration as part of its iOS6, HTC would install a special Facebook button (physical, similar to number buttons) on the phone’s exterior so that you would be able to press the button and launch Facebook from your home screen. While physical buttons are nothing novel, this Facebook button may show Zuckerberg’s attempt at becoming more relevant than just another touchscreen application.