Rumor: Facebook to Release a Smartphone

Social networking giant Facebook is set to release its own smartphone by next year, reports The New York Times. According to the report, Facebook is collaborating with handset maker HTC to further develop its smartphone — codenamed “Buffy” — and has hired more than a dozen former Apple iPhone and iPad engineers to help with the efforts. Mark Zuckerberg has been very secretive about these plans, going door-to-door looking for the right talent, but is anxious to get the smartphone on the market in the near future.

For Facebook, the motivation is clear; as a newly public company, it must find new sources of revenue, and it fears being left behind in mobile, one of the most promising areas for growth.

“Mark is worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms,” a Facebook employee said.

Facebook just recently went public on the stock market, but has since struggled in the few weeks that have ensued. The software company could get a boost by offering its own smartphone, but it certainly won’t be an easy task for the company to manufacture the device.

Several large consumer electronics companies including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Sony have largely failed to create their own mobile phone business, and Facebook could easily be added to that list if they fail to release a smartphone that has an impact on the market.

[New York Times]

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