There is a new Chosen One. It alone will stand against Apple, Google, and the forces of darkness. It is the Facebook phone, code-name: Buffy. Coming in 12-18 months.
The much-rumored Facebook phone, which will run on a heavily modified version of Android, has been unofficially confirmed again by AllThingsD (which runs down all the behind the scenes drama in a multi-part series, even though TechCrunch reported on the same basic story – more than a year ago). None of the major players have commented publically, and likely won’t.
What we know thus far is that Buffy the Facebook Phone is being manufactured by HTC, will have deep Facebook integration, and will feature support for HTML5 mobile web apps.
As for the bigger picture, as MG Siegler notes:
The fact of the matter is that mobile is the future of computing and it’s currently controlled by two gate masters: Apple and Google.
Right now, they play somewhat nicely with one another (in that Facebook has apps for both platforms). But what happens if the relationships change? Or what if either one of them decides to push their own social network on their phone? Like say, Google+ on the Galaxy Nexus…
The point is that if Facebook wants to be a big boy company, they can’t afford to be one code push away from banishment on the important platforms. In fact, if you want to be a dominant player, you have to own the platform. Facebook, of all companies, knows this.
With 350 million active mobile users, could Facebook pose a significant threat to both Google and Apple in the mobile space, or is it too little, way too late for Facebook? Check back in 2012…or 2013…maybe.