Facebook, the social networking gorilla, could unveil its first smartphone powered by a modified version of Android, according to a special first-in-a-series report by All Things Digital. Code-named “Buffy,” after the TV character played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, the new handset could arrive within 12-18 months.

Long-rumored, Facebook’s entry into the ever-changing smartphone market now seems confirmed. In fact, the company recently is said to have signed HTC to build its first handset, although Samsung could also become a partner as well.

According to the report, Facebook’s handset will be deeply integrated into its current services and support HTML5 as a platform for apps.

Although a Facebook spokesman wouldn’t comment on “Buffy” specifically, they did state:

“Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. 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.”

With 350 million users worldwide, we’d be surprised if Facebook didn’t eventually release its own handset. This news suggests that day could arrive as early as sometime in 2012.

What do you think? Would you buy a Facebook smartphone? Let us know by using the comments below.