Facebook smartphone rumours gather pace (again)
Rumours that Facebook is to enter the smartphone market have been raised for the third time, with Apple engineers purported to have been headhunted to work on the project with a proposed release date of 2013.
According to a report in the New York Times, citing anonymous sources, the social networking giant wants to move into hardware, and it won’t be the first time they’ve dabbled in this area, either.
Facebook reportedly initiated – then soon gave up – a smartphone plan as far back as 2010, with lack of experience in hardware building cited as the reason. Hiring half a dozen Apple employees, most of whom gained experience building the iPhone and iPad, may have solved that problem.
Similarly, a reported 2011 collaboration with HTC, codenamed “Buffy”, is still in the pipeline.
Given CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pre-IPO announcement that mobile is at the forefront of the company’s plans, this development certainly makes sense.
The potential move from software to hardware is somewhat redolent of Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which could eventuate in Google rolling out their own smartphones.
The NYT quoted a Facebook employee who stated that Zuckerberg is “worried...that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms”.
An engineer who had previously worked at Apple is also quoted, claiming that Zuckerberg questioned him on hardware issues which “did not sound like idle curiosity”.
The water cooler chatter is in overdrive following Facebook’s IPO, with rumours of an acquisition of mobile and desktop browser Opera alongside the renewed smartphone discussion.
It’s fair to say there are more Facebook stories than you can shake the proverbial stick at of late, but this update could be the glue that links it together.