updated 03:30 pm EDT, Tue October 26, 2010
Facebook phone effort said kept off campus
Facebook's repeatedly denied phone platform project is in development but is being deliberately kept out of sight to the usual team, a rumor claimed today. The plan, which would customize Android with deeper integration into Facebook, is supposedly being kept in a building away from the social network's Palo Alto office. SAI's tip maintained that Facebook VP of Growth, Mobile and International Chamath Palihapitiya was heading up the project.
The site has officially declined to comment on the latest rumor, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously maintained that Facebook's mobile efforts were only to work with mobile OS developers to make its service as much of a complete platform on their phones as possible. Android allows some of the deepest integration since Facebook and phone makers are free to modify much of the code, while Apple rarely allows integration from others and usually makes special deals.
A Facebook-optimized version of Android could be released independently of any one phone manufacturer, but it would require the consent of companies that have often developed their own layers, such as HTC, Inq and Motorola. Apple and Facebook have been talking in recent weeks, too, and could cast doubts on the social site's willingness to favor Android so heavily.