Rumour: HTC-designed Facebook phone coming in mid-2013

FacebookRumours that HTC and Facebook are working together on a smartphone refuse to go away. Citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg is the latest to indicate that the two companies are hard at work on a Facebook-centric smartphone. They were hoping to have a device out by the end of the year but have now pushed that plan back to mid-2013 to give HTC more time to work on “other products.”

The report adds that Facebook is developing a modified version of Android to power this smartphone, a strategy used by Amazon on the Kindle Fire. Aside from hiring former Apple employees, it has also hired a number of Palm “key staffers” who worked on that company’s mobile operating systems (anyone remember webOS?).

Facebook is also rebuilding Facebook’s iPhone application with the help of former Apple employees such as Greg Novick who worked on the touchscreen user interface, software developers Tim Omernick and Chris Tremblay and Scott Goodson who worked on the stock market application.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has named “the shift to mobile” as the greatest challenge facing his company at the present.

HTC and Facebook have already cooperated on the HTC Status and the HTC ChaCha/Salsa, both of which featured dedicated Facebook buttons.

Read more: Bloomberg