Is The ‘Facebook Phone’ Really Just A Better Facebook App For Android?

The mysterious press invite sent out Thursday night.

The mysterious press invite sent out Thursday night.

There have been rumors for a while that Facebook, like Google, would be getting into the hardware business and last night’s press invite from Facebook for some big Android-related announcement spurred all sorts of talk about an actual “Facebook Phone,” but some says it’s likely just Facebook finally getting around to releasing an Android app that functions properly.

While some are saying the announcement will introduce a new Facebook-based operating system, that would run counter to the event invite’s whole “see our new home on Android” line, so at best we’re looking at a tweaked version of Android.

As has been the case with Facebook Phone rumors for quite some time, HTC is the manufacturer most cited by sources in reports from places like TechCrunch and 9to5google.com, which also says Facebook has plans to launch an ad campaign around whatever it is it shows off next Thursday.

WSJ’s Gadget Wars is currently making three predictions for the announcement. First, that it will include the launch of mobile Graph Search, Facebook’s search function that was the subject of its last overhyped press event. Second, that Facebook messaging will be integrated into the phone’s native message app. Finally, that Facebook messaging will allow the user to make voice and video calls.

Slashgear’s Chris Burns is more skeptical about the innovations that will be debuted next week.

“What we’ll see is a presentation about 1 hour long with several top Facebook developers talking about how this version of Facebook for Android will be a real, dedicated, just as good as iOS release. And we’ll all go home wondering why Facebook didn’t just send out a press release instead.”