It looks like Facebook is on route to producing its very own smartphone, if reports in the New York Times are to be believed. According to the newspaper, Facebook has hired a team of former Apple staff including software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone and iPad.
The new recruits will be added to a team that is already working with Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC on a project codenamed Buffy. The new phone is expected to run on a customised version of Android.
Facebook is worried that if it doesn’t act soon it will be sidelined within the mobile sector and simply become an app used by other mobile platforms, according to an employee at the firm. The company has already started to put in place the elements it needs to create the new phone. In addition to the alliance with HTC, it will also launch its own app store, where phone versions of Facebook’s linked websites such as Spotify and Pinterest will be available for download. And according to recent reports, the firm is also looking to acquire Norwegian company Opera Software, a creator of mobile and desktop browsers.
A new phone would allow Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg to wrestle control of their customers from Google and Apple. And given the recent tumbling of the firm’s share price it is essential that Zuckerberg looks for new ways to increase the company’s growth potential; a new mobile phone might be the best way to do it.
Facebook has neither confirmed nor denied the rumour with a spokesperson saying: “We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers and application developers.”
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