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Facebook rumored making own phone [U]

updated 11:50 am EDT, Sun September 19, 2010

Facebook wants own device

(Updated with Facebook response, below) Facebook may be designing its own phone if a rumor emerging on Sunday is accurate. The project would follow the familiar strategy of contracting a company to build the hardware while Facebook works on the software. It would integrate the social network into the deepest levels of the phone, such as making a call to a Facebook friend rather than just a phone number, according to TechCrunch.

The company's former iPhone app developer Joe Hewitt, as well as Google's previous Chrome OS project leader Matthew Papakipos, are believed to be working on if not leading the project. Both have experience in web-based operating systems. Chrome OS is well known as being based on Google's Chrome browser, while Hewitt had been working on a similar project, Parakey, in 2007.

The same source discussing the project also claimed it was direct reaction to devices with full hardware and software integration, particularly the Google Nexus One but also Apple's iPhone. Facebook already has full-featured apps for both but only a mild amount of integration. It has a deeper level of influence on webOS and will have more still with Windows Phone 7, but neither HP nor Microsoft are expected to have significant market share.

As the project is still in early stages, the features of the phone, its release date and other details are still unknown. A possibility is INQ, whose phones are already centered around social networking; both it and Facebook share Li Ka-Shing as a common investor and may have used him as a broker. HTC could be the other candidate as it's considered more platform-agnostic and is willing to support custom development.

Update: Facebook has denied making a phone of its own. It agreed that it was working on deeper integration of the social network with phones, but through its traditional approach of talking to other companies and not with its own devices.

"The story, which originated in Techcrunch, is not accurate," the statement read. "Facebook is not building a phone. Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social. Current projects include include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers. Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating systems is a good way to enable this. For an example, check out Connect for iPhone and the integration we have with contact syncing through our iPhone app. Another example is the INQ1 phone with Facebook integration (the first so-called 'Facebook Phone'). The people mentioned in the story [Hewitt and Papakipos] are working on these projects. The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a 'Facebook Phone' because that's such an attractive soundbite, but building phones is just not what we do."

By Electronista Staff


  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2002



    As long as it has a front-facing camera, that will keep the narcissistic millenials happy.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2010


    comment title

    As usual, another s*** phone about to come to market, why not release it on one of the monopolistic CDMA carriers, then that little image in your mind of the perfect piece of s*** will come to reality!

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010



    There's already an app for that.

  1. nerdbunnie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2006



    Is this so your phone conversations can be shared with everyone too? Will it post to your status that you called "so-and-so using facebook phone"? Their privacy policy's already a joke...there's no way in h*** I'd trust their phone service.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Facebook is social

    But building their own smartphone would be anti-social. Hence they won't.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    @ facebook_Justin

    >> why not release it on one of the monopolistic CDMA carriers,

    Oh yeah, AT&T, TMO, Rogers/Fido in Canada and all the other GSM providers in North America don't lock their hardware down and are in no way monopolistic.

    And here I thought I was crazy...

    What exactly do you have against CDMA? You do realize CDMA is superior and more secure than GSM.

  1. legacyb4

    Mac Elite

    Joined: May 2001


    As it is, they have enough

    trouble keeping up with an updated Facebook app; you think they will magically sprout the ability to keep up in the smartphone arms race?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    Being that both T-Mobile and AT&T (except in the case of the iPhone) will gladly unlock any out-of-contract phone for use with any GSM carrier,

    Well, gladly, except for ATT, who will only do it for phones they don't have an exclusive agreement with.

    And the iPhone can be purchased unlocked

    Really? Where does one get that? Oh, not in the US. Blast.

    And I understand that the CDMA carriers did you wrong in the past, what with framing you for that bank robbery and sending you to jail for 15 years, but can you stop with the CDMA rants? Yes, we get it. You hate CDMA. Too bad you're one of the few. And being that the iPhone is locked down on a single network AND locked into running apps that are approved by one provider (just not the cell carrier), it's hard to argue how GSM is so 'open'.

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