HTC Myst Reignites Rumours of Facebook Phone

by Matt Klassen on March 11, 2013

It was a little over two years ago when rumours first leaked that struggling mobile manufacturer HTC was quietly working on several Facebook phones, rumours that ended up in the scrap heap with so many others. But after Facebook announced the mobile-centric makeover for its News Feed feature last week, speculation has resurfaced that HTC may once again be working on a phone that is a specifically “Facebook branded.”

The phone, reportedly named the “HTC Myst,” joins an ever-growing list of rumoured and real phones that boast deep Facebook integration, and although no previous device with such a social networking focus has ever been as successful as a multi-functional smartphone with a Facebook app, HTC is hoping to buck the trend and create a mid-range device that consumers will actually want.

That said, while no Facebook has posed any threat to Samsung or Apple devices, its has become increasing clear that the social network sees a strong mobile presence as its path to continued success, meaning a phone could certainly be part of Facebook’s revamped mobile strategy.

Following Friday’s announcement that Facebook was giving its News Feed a mobile-centric overhaul, rumours of Facebook revamping its mobile strategy were bolstered by the leaked specs of HTC’s new Myst smartphone, a mid-range device that packs respectable features, something previous Facebook-branded devices notably lacked. Such features coupled with deep Facebook integration could be what the modern social craze needs…or perhaps what it needed five years ago when Facebook was at the height of its popularity.

The problem for HTC and for Facebook is that the latter’s age of dominance might have already come to an end, with reports finding that a growing number of Facebook users are becoming bored with the ubiquitous social network, choosing more progressive and forward-thinking social options to sate their addiction. This means that while a powerful and feature-heavy Facebook-branded phone might have challenged the incumbent smartphone powers several years ago, Samsung’s Galaxy and Apple’s iPhone franchises are far too ingrained in the market to see any sort of HTC Facebook phone as a threat.

Of course if Facebook is finally going to enter the competitive mobile market, a move many analysts have considered a necessity if the social network wants to dominate more of our digital existence, this is the move we would all expect, although again one questions both the timing and the choice of struggling HTC as sound decisions in revamping the social networks mobile strategy.

For its part the Myst is rumoured to hit North American markets sometime in spring, which HTC undoubtedly hopes will spark a resurgence for a company who’s seen its presence in the mobile market continually fade over the past several years.

“HTC is in trouble, they haven’t had one really breakout phone from the standpoint of sales in a while, and they need something to give them an edge,” Tech analyst Rob Enderle told TechNewsWorld. “I think they are thinking social media may be something that can be done better, but the strategy is likely born of desperation.”

In the end, I have to agree that such a Facebook-branded phone is likely the ominous writing on the wall for HTC, a last ditch hail-Mary attempt at creating its own niche in a competitive smartphone market…its just a shame its several years too late.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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