An article in the New York Times says that Facebook has another smartphone in the works, according to Facebook employees as well as engineers who say they were approached by recruiters.
The article contains facts which seem to support a Facebook phone, such as Facebook’s acquisition of former iPhone and iPad engineers, the rumored partnership with HTC to produce a phone code-named “Buffy,” and one engineer’s claim to have met with Mark Zuckerberg himself, who was asking specific questions about smartphone technology. The New York Times points to facebook’s pre-existing “operating system” (I think they mean “platform”) which features messaging, a calendar, contacts, video, and an existing app store infrastructure. (And an awesome camera app!)
For their part, Facebook neither confirmed nor denied their involvement in building a smartphone, and issued the same statement they gave AllThingsD last year: “We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.”
All that said, there are other ways Facebook could leverage it’s growing smartphone expertise without building one itself. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, prior to Facebook’s IPO, the mobile market was one of the identified areas of growth for the company. According to the report, Facebook “do[es] not currently directly generate meaningful revenue” from mobile devices. This could be the other explanation, that Facebook is looking for the best solution to gain revenue from its existing mobile user-base.
Does it make sense for Facebook to build its own phone when it already has an app on practically every smartphone? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.