As if no one saw this one coming, Facebook is teaming up with HTC to produce the first actual Facebook phone. The plans for the product are expected to be unveiled at some point today.
The move could cause a ripple effect throughout the mobile and marketing industries. To start, by teaming up with HTC, Facebook is partnering with a phone company that saw just six percent of U.S. market share in the fourth quarter of 2012. Obviously, the hope of the Taiwanese-based manufacturer is that the deal will put them back on the map in terms of sales. There is also the question of what carriers will carry the phone. According to AdAge, HTC will be launching a new phone next month available through AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, but it isn’t clear as to whether or not this will be the phone.
There is also the fact that this will probably require Facebook to contribute significant dollars to advertising, something that the company has done very little of in the past. This all comes on the heels of eMarketer announcing that 2013’s mobile advertising is growing so fast that many analysts are re-forecasting how much will be spent in the industry this year. Facebook throwing their hat into the ring only complicates the whole outlook, especially when Google and Samsung are already battling each other for the biggest voice in the mobile space. While it is still unclear exactly how Facebook will affect Google’s mobile ad revenue, the general consensus is that there won’t be any initial rumblings. However, the liberties Facebook can take in playing with Google’s Android OS could mean generating some friction down the road.