Are HTC and Facebook developing a smartphone?

HTC and Facebook may be working towards developing another Facebook phone, if sources talking to DigiTimes are to be believed.

Although little or no information of any substance is given as evidence, it's said that a Q3 2012 launch is being eyed to set forth this latest collaborative handset. 

The Facebook phone is nothing new. In fact it's something of a tech enigma, with rumours appearing regularly, but only a few devices coming to fruition.

HTC previously developed two Facebook phones, the HTC Salsa and the HTC ChaCha, both of which were a little underpowered and didn't really do much for Facebook beyond the existing integration that Android users enjoy.

INQ launched its INQ Cloud Touch around the same time, which took a slightly more specific and granular approach to Facebook integration, but struggled to gain any traction with customers. INQ then released its widgets for all, reducing its handset to redundancy. 

Back in November 2011, however, sources revealed that the codename Buffy was being used for the development of a new HTC Facebook phone, so as you see, this isn't entirely new ground.

But Facebook has repeatedly said that its aim is to be in all phones. "Our mobile strategy is simple: we think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.," a Facebook insider told AllThingsD last year.

"We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world."

We're not so sure that Facebook would want a hardware solution. Hardware expires quickly and there is little real advantage to Facebook in taking that route. It would be better placed to stick to the software side and develop the apps across all platforms, to access the maximum number of people.

What do you think? Would a Facebook phone appeal?