Does HTC Sense and a new Facebook-centric launcher warrant its own hardware? We'll find out Thursday
With the unveiling of Facebook’s “new home on Android” just a couple of days away, the folks at Android Police have gotten hold of a system dump for the fabled HTC-built Facephone, to which they’ve given the APK teardown treatment. Details included in the ROM seem to confirm earlier rumors of a relatively pedestrian Android smartphone, powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip (MSM8960), 1GB of RAM and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, running on a 4.3-inch 720p screen. (In addition, the “HTC Myst” codename is seemingly confirmed, along with AT&T radio support.)
Also confirmed is the presence of Facebook Home, apparently a home screen launcher replacement based around the user’s own Facebook news feed. That's not a huge surprise -- Phil predicted as much in his Editor's column on Sunday and on Twitter a few days before that.
The new Facebook Home launcher apparently includes the permissions needed to access and import settings from the stock Android, TouchWiz and HTC Sense launchers, indicating it might see a separate release at some point. (Incidentally, although the phone appears to run HTC Sense 4+, the Sense launcher is nowhere to be found in this system dump.)
All of which leaves us with a few nagging questions. First, if Facebook Home won’t be exclusive to the “Myst,” then how is this different from the approach taken a couple of years ago in the ill-fated HTC ChaCha (Status) and Salsa. What’s the incentive to pick up a phone running last year’s hardware and last year’s software, for the sake of a custom launcher that’ll be available elsewhere anyway?
All signs are pointing to some sort of new phone from HTC in conjunction with all this.
Why does a launcher or software layer or whatever the hell we're going to call it need new hardware? Is Facebook going to sell this hardware? Will it end up in Best Buy alongside the 5,000 other phones? On Amazon? Even if it ends up in carrier stores, that's no guarantee it'll sell enough to make it worth it.
There’s every chance Facebook will have something to pull out of its sleeve this Thursday. But until then we’re left wondering just what Facebook and HTC will be doing to differentiate this new handset.
Source: Android Police