updated 11:49 pm EDT, Sun May 27, 2012
Facebook working with manufacturers, learning smartphone ropes
According to The New York Times, Facebook is working with smartphone manufacturers with an eye toward entering the handset market itself. The social network is said to be hiring hardware engineers in order produce a Facebook-branded smartphone, a move that would bring even greater competition to the already-crowded smartphone sector. The latest rumor follow a similar suggestion which surfaced in late April claiming Facebook was again working with HTC.
Employees familiar with Facebook's plans say that the company has hired more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly expressed great interest in the workings of smartphones, apparently concerned that Facebook could see its stature reduced as mobile devices become more important in the future. The company is said to have entered into a partnership with HTC last year to produce a smartphone, code-named "Buffy," but the newest reports have the company now leaning more toward producing a phone almost completely on its own.
Facebook isn't the only Internet giant rumored to be entering the hardware sector. With its recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Google is also thought to be taking a more direct route with regard to its Android operating system.
Facebook executives have made it known that the company intends to make a big push in the mobile sphere. The social giant recently announced an App Center portal giving users access to both iOS and Android apps.