Facebook is holding a big press event this Tuesday, January 15th, and when it comes to what the social network behemoth has up its sleeve, speculation abounds. Rumors about a Facebook smartphone have been swirling for years, with a report from March of last year claiming that Facebook was hiring Apple engineers who had previously worked on the iPhone and iPad.
The mysterious Facebook smartphone could finally become a reality this week. Facebook is also rumored to bring its Messenger iOS app to the iPad.
On the Facebook-branded phone front, MG Siegler of TechCrunch reports that “multiple sources have told us that they expect some sort of Facebook Phone to be on display on Tuesday.” Siegler makes it very clear that details are slim:
It’s not entirely clear if this will be an actual piece of Facebook branded hardware or if they will simply use hardware from a phone maker to show off some sort of new Facebook OS for mobile. That is to say, it could very well be that the “Facebook Phone” is more about a Facebook OS running on a phone (or a few phones).
Facebook could potentially use its own smartphone OS, but going with a flavor of Android (like Amazon with the Kindle) seems more plausible. The device could be angled as an iPhone competitor, but it will most likely sell at a cheaper price tag for emerging markets.
Separately, Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch is reporting that Facebook for Messenger is also in the wings for Tuesday:
Specifically I’m hearing that Messenger for iPad, replete with all the Messenger features we’ve come to love like emoticons, photosharing, read receipts, location tagging, group messaging, and the new voice-recorded messaging feature, is ready for the public eye. And basically, it’s what exists on the iPad but in a bigger format.
According to one source, the app is “totally” ready to launch on Tuesday, and if the event is indeed a series of mobile product announcements, it could “totally” fit in conceptually.
Facebook Messenger was released as a separate app on the iPhone back in August 2011. Facebook is notoriously slow at releasing iPad apps for some reason, but it looks like Messenger may finally be ready.
There’s not much else to go on for Tuesday’s event. Facebook recently bought Instagram, and it would be great if an iPad app was announced this week onstage. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.