'Facebook phone' may ring in on April 4

Facebook fuelled fresh talk on Friday about its own mobile phone after the leading social network scheduled a press announcement for next week.

Shortly after the Facebook invitation went out for the April 4 event, the technology news site TechCrunch reported the announcement would be a modified version of the Google Android operating system with "deep native Facebook functionality."

Another report on "9 to 5 Google" said Facebook designing the software for the new smartphone, which would be made by Taiwan's HTC.

Facebook's invitation said only "Come See Our New Home On Android." The reports, if accurate, could explain the long speculation about a "Facebook phone" to help the social network better monetize its mobile platform by featuring Facebook prominently on the phone.

Facebook has long held firm it has no intention of building its own smartphone, saying instead it would rather weave access to the social network into software running the gamut of handsets.

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