Buffy is coming.  That’s the code name for the Facebook phone.  It will run a heavily modified version of Google’s Android.  They are working with HTC, a Taiwanese cell phone maker, who helped Amazon and Barnes & Noble to create tablets that run with customized versions of Android.

The package would run HTML5 as a platform for applications.  This will allow users to play games such as Cityville or Poker directly from the Facebook app.  This is important because Facebook is currently cut off from the revenue stream of these games, as the games are currently a separate download from Facebook.   Buffy is being designed to rectify that situation.

Facebook says it has 350 million mobile users and relationships with 475 mobile operators.  It is one of the most popular apps on nearly every phone, but more often than not, it is not front and center.  It is often an app where users can view their friends’ feeds and upload photos and status updates.  Facebook has had some success allowing users to upload photos from their picture-taking  app, or to integrate Facebook contacts with the phone’s address book.

Suffice to say that the “big boys” are lining up to do battle.  Google and Apple run the two smartphone operating systems on the market today.  When Apple unveiled iOS5, the latest update to their software on iPhones and iPads, there was deeper integration with Twitter than with Facebook.  And with Google going all out with Google+ in direct competition with Facebook, it will be interesting to see exactly what the mobile landscape looks like 2 years from now.

Buffy is estimated to be 15 to 18 months from hitting the shelves.