HTC Myst may welcome 'Facebook Home' to Androids everywhere

Facebook home
ET would approve of this Home phone

Facebook's "new home for Android" will open its doors on Thursday, though that impending due date isn't stopping a number of leaks from bubbling to the surface.

First, some background: Reports from last week suggest that during a Menlo Park event, Facebook will introduce a handset built by HTC and injected with a tweaked version Android. The rumors said this 'droid will put Facebook front and center, including making account info pop up immediately on the home screen.

OK, now that we're up to speed, let's look at the most recent breeches. Android Police has gotten its hands on a system dump for "the Facebook phone," and while the information may make you go "eh," it does give us details about what we might see come April 4.

It's important to note that the publication couldn't actually log into the program since, as a pre-release, it looks as though only employees of the social network have access, but there's plenty to glean from the available data.

Myst-ery solved?

According to the build.prop specs, Facebook is working with a phone made by HTC with the model name of Myst. That moniker should sound familiar, as rumors of the HTC Myst have lurked in the shadows for the last several weeks.

This particular handset is destined for U.S. wireless carrier AT&T. Its skin is the old Sense 4.5 and it runs Android 4.1.2. There's a 4.3-inch display with 720p resolution, on which you can see the snaps you take with either the 5MP rear camera or 1.6MP front camera.

It looks as though the phone lacks an SD Card, though it has 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi. The processor is pegged as a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960.

Much of this we've heard before, thanks largely to regular leakster @evleaks. Previous info from the Twitter-handled tipper says that the same 4.3-inch display will own 320ppi. The MSM8960 is said to run at 1.5GHz while the phone will also pack 16GB of internal storage.

To wrap it all in a bow for you: We're definitely looking at a mid-range phone here, which may be a let down to those who've been waiting for "Buffy" to rise for the last two years.

But what about the Facebook?

What will set the Myst apart from other mid-tier devices, at least initially, is a one-of-a-kind Facebook app. According to Android Police, the package name for the regular Facebook app is "com.facebook.katana." Myst's package is titled "com.facebook.wakizashi."

Wakizashi has everything it needs to be a home screen app, one that's called "Facebook Home." We actually heard TechCrunch talk about Home last week in a report that also highlighted the social network's deep home screen integration on a new device.

"Rosie," HTC's traditional home screen app, is nowhere to be found on the Myst, and Wakizashi has a number of added Android permissions.

A few of those include the ability to turn off the lock screen, have Facebook boot up as soon as the phone starts, a way to control the Wi-Fi connection and a "SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW" function that lets the Facebook app generate windows that layer on top of all other windows.

Additionally, and more importantly, there are permissions that let Facebook read settings for the stock Android Launcher, HTC Launcher and TouchWiz Launcher.

That TouchWiz element is particularly ear-perking because it means that Facebook Home isn't limited to Myst: It can find its way onto other handsets as a standalone application, one Police thinks could end up on the Play Store.

All told, it looks like this is a "mutant Facebook app," and not a rewrite of the Android OS as previously believed. However, this determination comes from an unreleased dev build, so Thursday could bring about a whole other software beast.

At least for now we're a little less Myst-ified.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.