updated 09:15 pm EDT, Thu September 23, 2010
AT&T deal said to be not yet final
Amid a variety of report surrounding Facebook's plans to develop a mobile platform, additional details of a Facebook handset have emerged. Earlier rumors claimed the device, known to be built by INQ, will be headed for Europe in the first half of 2011, with a US launch set for AT&T. A GigaOM report, however, suggests that the AT&T deal is not yet final and the devices are not likely to appear in such a short time-frame.
The latest sources claim the Facebook phone will be bundled with Spotify, a popular digital music service that is expected to be launched in the US by the end of the year. The phone will allegedly launch first on Hutchinson, a 3G network available in 12 countries and owned by Chinese billionaire Li Ka-Shing.
Ka-Shing is reportedly a common link between the participating companies, as a large investor in Facebook, Spotify and INQ Mobile. The handset maker is also headed by Frank Meehan, who is a member of Spotify's board of directors.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied that the social network was attempting to build its own hardware. The service aims to become a mobile platform, as a social layer that does not compete directly with Apple or Google in the mobile market. The company will focus on deep integration with existing software, such as Android.
The involved companies have yet to disclose an official time-frame for launching a handset.