Facebook phone rumors resurface: cloud-based, HTC-built?

Ah, the Facebook phone. Despite statements by the company that it is flat out not making a phone, the rumors persist, and not one but two separate stories have now cropped up on the same day that a mysterious "call" button has appeared on some folks' Facebook pages. The first of those comes courtesy of BGR, which says it has heard from someone involved in a recent focus group that supposedly centered on a Facebook phone. As the story goes, the phone (which apparently wasn't actually referred to as a "Facebook phone") would have an always-on GPS service, no or very little local storage, a camera (with images stored in the cloud), a "news ticker-style message notification system" with all messages funneled into one "mass inbox" and, last but not least, some sort of location-aware coupon service that's described as "Facebook Deals on steroids."

Joining that is a report from the London-based City A.M. financial newspaper, which says it has learned from unnamed sources that HTC will debut two Facebook-branded phones at Mobile World Congress next month. Details on those are otherwise expectedly light, but the paper says the phones will run a "tweaked version" of Android and sport Facebook's colors -- supposedly, Facebook's Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos (formerly of Firefox and Google, respectively) are largely responsible for the launch. Of course, the paper also says HTC is responsible for "Google's Nexus range," which doesn't exactly help its case, and leads us to suspect that we may simply be dealing with one big game of telephone here.