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HTC’s Myst Will be A Facebook Phone; Facebook Home is the Launcher None of You Have Been Waiting For

April 1, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

Ever since Facebook announced that they were holding an event on April 4th to announce their “new home on Android” everybody’s thoughts instantly jumped to the “Facebook phone” concept once again, it turns out that, you’d be right. Facebook are working on a phone with HTC, that just so happens to be codenamed the HTC Myst. I have no idea how they managed it but the folks over at Android Police have managed to get their hands on a system dump of the actual phone. Now, there’s not as many juicy details as you might like but, it certainly sheds some light on just what Facebook have been up to recently.

let’s start with the phone itself. As has been rumored for a long time, it’s going to be made by HTC and it carries the codename of Myst. As for the specs of the phone, Android Police have gleamed the following on the specs from the device’s build.prop:

  • Manufacturer: HTC
  • Model: MYSTUL (Myst_UL)
  • Carrier: AT&T
  • Platform: MSM8960 (Dual Core)
  • Ram: 1GB
  • Display: 4.3 inch @ 720p resolution
  • Android Version: 4.1.2
  • Sense Version: 4.5
  • Rear Camera = 5M
  • Front Camera = 1.6M
  • No SD Card
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n

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As for “Facebook Home” it appears as though Facebook has taken their Android app and attached an Android launcher to it, making for yet another launcher choice on Android. There’s word that Facebook could be releasing the app into the Play Store as well. APK fans will love to know that the Facebook app on Android comes with the name of “com.facebook.katana” and the Facebook app on the HTC Myst comes with the name of “com.facebook.wakizashi” both of which are names for swords, a la Kill Bill’s Hatori Hanzo.

Unfortunately, Android Police couldn’t get into the device because it’s rigged up to only accept credentials for Facebook employees and so this happens:

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So while there’s no customized Facebook OS here or anything, the Facebook APK in this system dump comes with all the permissions you’d need for a home launcher, such as the following:

  • SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW – The Facebook app can spawn windows that stay on top of all other windows. According to the Android docs, “these windows are intended for system-level interaction with the user.”
  • DISABLE_KEYGUARD – It can turn off your lock screen.
  • RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED – Facebook starts as soon as your phone starts.
  • GET_TASKS – The Facebook app can see what apps you have currently running.
  • CHANGE_WIFI_STATE – It can control your WiFi connection
  • WRITE_SETTINGS – It can change your system settings

HTC’s “Rosie” launch that runs the show in other HTC phones isn’t even included which makes this more of a Facebook phone than an Android phone with a unique Facebook button on it. All-in-all, this is very much a device that ships with Sense 4.5 and a Facebook homescreen, whether or not this comes with the Play Store and all other Google services remains to be seen but, I wouldn’t bet against Facebook trying to build their own eco-system.