‘Facebook phone’ rumors flare after company announces April 4 event

Yes, this again.

Facebook on Thursday sent out invitations for a press event that promised to show off the company’s “new home on Android,” which naturally led to fresh speculation about the company’s intention to produce its own Facebook-centric smartphone.

Unnamed sources told 9t5Google that Facebook plans to show off its own modified version of the Android operating system, a move that’s similar to the way Amazon has heavily modified Android for its own Kindle Fire HD tablets. 9to5Google’s sources also indicate that Facebook is working with HTC to produce a smartphone based on Facebook’s modified Android that will be sold “as a lifestyle brand, not specifically for its hardware or software.”

This won’t be the first time that Facebook and HTC have worked together to make a smartphone.

In case you don’t remember, HTC tried something like this back in 2011 with the ill-fated HTC Status smartphone that had a dedicated Facebook button and that looked like a rejected BlackBerry design concept from around 2006.

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But 9to5Google’s sources indicate that the new phone will feature “a deeper, forked version of Android rather than a Facebook-ified version of Sense,” so it seems the two companies are putting more effort into creating a top-tier device this time.