Mike Isaac

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Facebook to Host Android Mobile Event

Facebook will hold an Android-focused mobile event at its Menlo Park campus, according to invitations sent out to reporters on Thursday.

The invitation itself is light on detail, stating only “come see our new home on Android” in the body text. The event will be held the morning of April 4, a Thursday.

Facebook has been exploring what it may be able to accomplish around Android for some time now, doing much of the work that would be needed to create its own phone (namely Project Buffy, which we’ve reported on for some time). For years the company has focused its mobile efforts around the iPhone (for the present) and HTML5 (for the future) — however, it began a major Android push several months ago.

With good reason. The Android OS has massive reach around the world, penetrating deep in emerging international markets in which, unlike the United States, Facebook isn’t the dominant social network. So continuing to broaden the social giant’s presence on the wide-reaching operating system, in any capacity, is in part a play for expanding the billion-strong social network’s userbase.

Facebook has been laying the groundwork for getting deeper into the guts of a phone in other ways, too.

The company’s popular Messenger app, for example, has the ability to directly route text and voice calls to another Facebook user without the need for a phone number. Its authentication mechanism is widely used by app makers for login, and it has been trying to make its social graph a more useful means of app discovery. And, of course, Facebook has its other mobile apps taking up smartphone real estate: Poke, Camera and the ever-popular Instagram.

To be sure, Facebook has already made major strides in improving its existing Android footprint. Shortly after speeding up its iOS app, Facebook released a major update to the Android version of the app, and has devoted significant mobile engineering resources to working on Android for some time.

Ina Fried contributed to this report.

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