Facebook reportedly at it again; FacePhone in the works

Reports are circling around the web that the massive social giant Facebook, which is now a public company, is still looking at creating their own hardware. The Facebook Phone, or the FacePhone? Who knows, but according to the New York Times CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seriously looking at the mobile market as a means for future revenue and ventures. 

One Facebook employee is quoted saying the following.

"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."

We previously looked at rumours being published of Microsoft desiring Facebook to use Windows Phone to power any possible hardware. We commented on how it would make more sense for the social network to adopt Windows Phone as a "Facebook certified platform" as such, since Microsoft's mobile OS is the only one on market which sports deep integration.

Employees of Facebook, among several hired engineers who were sought out by the company, say plans are set for a smartphone to be released by next year. According to these very souls, Facebook has hired more than a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad.

Facebook and HTC were reported last year to have entered into a partnership, and are still actively working on a smartphone, code-named "Buffy". With the added team members, many with Apple product experience, the company has been diving deeper into the development process. When pressed for a confirmation that a Facebook phone was in the works, the company neither denied or affirmed the report.

"We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers."

Facebook has been secretively quiet, with little information being revealed to the world of the company's plans. But Hugo Fiennes, former Apple hardware manager for the iPhone, explained difficulties Facebook would encounter.

“Building isn’t something you can just jump into. You change the smallest thing on a smartphone and you can completely change how all the antennas work. You don’t learn this unless you’ve been doing it for a while. Going into the phone business is incredibly complex."

What Facebook does have is the potential foundations of a platform. Messaging, contacts, calendar, video, photos, apps and even recently purchased Instagram are all under the Facebook umbrella of social connectivity. Carolina Milanesi, a vice president and analyst at Gartner, commented on the future plans:

“When you offer an advertising-based phone, you’re targeting all the users on prepay that are budget-conscious of their communications costs.”

This would pin Facebook up against Google with mass market pushing, especially with Google+ still around. The companies could take the same approach as Amazon by subsidising some of the costs through advertising to bring prices down on hardware for consumers.

But would a Facebook phone sell? Take a look at how Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone. The push is a tough one, even with Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live and even LinkedIn fully integrated into the platform. We know the question burning on your mind - what would this Facebook smartphone look like?

WP Central

Source: NY Times; via: iMore

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I thought Facebook WAS an app. It's like a phone or email. It shouldn't be your LIFE. There's more to the Internet (though some might not think so).
  • +1
    Facebook already seems to be getting old for some, anyway
  • I have avoided signing up thus far.  Is there a prize for this?
  • Agree. It IS an app. Who would want a Facebook phone? I don't think anyone asked for this.
  • I agree, we are already getting more antisocial and loosing out face to face communications skills .
  • Personally I can't see a facebook phone reaching the volume that would warrant the investment. This may sound bias, but they should fully integrate with windows phone and as Nokia and Microsoft piggy back on Windows 8, Facebook would be right along for the ride. Instead of an app, they should create a Facebook hub like XBox Live. Cut a deal to get the Facebook games into Xbox live. Fully integrate Facebook into the Xbox 360 social hub. Its just a matter of time before Facebook stops being cool, but if it's everywhere like windows, it should make it another decade.
  • That Facebook hub idea is brilliant. Not an app, Deeply integrated, differentiates and uses system / background settings to optimize the experience and appease them by collecting info to advertise better. Hopefully, we can adjust settings. I know they need ad revenue to survive, but Microsoft has invested in them and lets them use Skype to power their voice chat. So we should be the premier platform, and get "discounts" on the amount of info they collect.
  • +1 ChristianKing. I would love to see deep integration as a hub for WinPhone as THE app for Facebook. Ride the Facebook wave for the few more years it's still relevant.
  • Eventually the Facebook bubble will burst..
  • mh... i don't know if i like this or not. Probably not....
    Definitely not.
  • I agree. Zuck is trying to make Facebook it's own platform, but risks too much bloat. Even the big three (Microsoft, Google and Apple) have 3rd party stores. What makes him think that he could possibly provide everything one would need. Besides, those price- conscious people would still need to pay their cell bill and without connectivity, there is no part of Facebook that would function.
  • Shoot, if they really don't want to use WP7, Android or iPhone, and want their own system, then they'd be better off buying RIM or WebOS. But making their own OS to compete with an already difficult market would be greatly unwise.
  • I really dont like the things the image tells us, everyone can hear your phone calls and you can only call Facebook friends -_-
  • I read somewhere yesterday that they've already chosen Android again
  • Chosen Android again, for what ?
  • "Free" is not always so "FREE", some would say ;-)
  • Why the heck would facebook want to make a facebook phone? WP is all we need for that.
    I seriously hope they make one. And see it fail totally. They think peple think good of facebook. Well we don't generally. We all dislike it for some reason but we just use their service to keep in touch with friends in a easy way. That does not mean we want a facebook phone.
    Some people are so high up their horses it sickens me. Yes. Facebook and its founder sickens me. I still use facebook frequently though. Would never ever buy any kind of product from them though I do not want to support them in any other way.
    Didn't HTC make a facebook phone not long ago? How did that sell? Probably a lot more than a facebook OS/phone would.
  • True Facebook is use to communicate with friends & family.
    But I don't see Facebook has a business tool. I prefer to have my own personal business website a tool for business. Which I have complete control of the website and don't have worry about Facebook changing there stupid content or design. I also dont see it has a business page if URL links says Facebook.com/mybusinessname which is not professional for business. Having your own business name link like https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co... is more professional of a business website.
  • Seems like a lot of secrecy for what will amount to a 4.3" slab device and a custom android OS.
  • They should stick with Windows, 'Borg may be free but inherently geGool, and therefore sleeping with the enemy. I'm almost certain that Redmond would give Facebook a discounted pass for their device. Perhaps it could most certainly be Windows RT and branded exclusively Facebook? Sometimes Windows is secretly there and many don't even know it! #PoweredByMicrosoft
  • They are hiring apple engineers? LoL ... Why iPhone sucks and should hire wp people dont they see it works great on wp integrated already. ALso I see Facebook being another failed MySpace in next 5yrs from now. Look at Facebook stock keeps going down and more down stock the more billions Facebook loss. Yes Facebook is free is why people use it. What happens if they start charge membership of course they will go down fast. In all why would I want a Facebook phone has wp already integrated or use the app besides people are already use to using the app. Zuckerberrg is so anxious have this Facebook phone because his stock are falling down and needs some kind of boost to bring it up. If they won't use wp. I will for sure Not want to buy one. Hope it fails has Facebook is not a phone to use.
  • Facebook is retarded not many people would buy this apples got everyone up ther ass and only reason y android is so big is because they have phones on carriers that wp7 don't people just want a touch screen smartphone and wen u have no option but android on a carrier like metro pcs then what can u expect
  • This has to be the lamest idea ever. "if I don't make a Facebook phone, it will become an app"? It already is an app on IOS, droid, and WP.
  • Didn't they learn with the HTC Status and how that was such a failure?
  • I thought Windows PHone was THE Facebook phone?
  • Haha your right about that Facebook already an app. Shows you now smart Zuck is hahahaha now I wonder if the twins had Facebook ideal in first place hahahha
  • I really can't see a FB phone adding any real value over WP... I mean we already got FB integrated in every corner.. I think ideal solution would be a Facebook branded WP built by Nokia. you get the best hardware, great OS, and the reach/brand recognition of FB. and as an added perk have instagram built-in and zynga / other fb games preloaded free!
  • We shall see how this all turns out.....
  • Why would someone buy a facebook phone? All smart phones have fb apps, plus the mobile site is good. And if the fb phone would have all the full site features and I have to buy it (if I was a fb addict) then that means I will be carrying 2 phones around, shouldn't they invest more in the fb apps not the fb phone? This is gonna be an epic fail.
  • A Facebook phone would be a failed investment from the start. They would be better off making deals with Microsoft, Google, and Apple to deeply integrate Facebook into all mobile platforms. Microsoft has tried this with WP7 but it's not perfect, there's many features still to be integrated
  • I remember MySpace doing the same thing with Helio...
  • Run Palm OS. Call it Facepalm. :)
  • haha. great branding, love it. will be a major hit for sure!
  • Anybody can tell me plzz wer can i buy best skins for samsung omnia w
  • Facebook OS is a fail. Facebook phone with a current OS might generate some $ maybe add exclusive features to the phone so ppl buy it. Either way it's about growing for them but I personally wouldn't buy a Facebook phone even thought I use Facebook a lot.
  • It'll crash and burn just like their shares, Facebook is getting boring now.
  • Facebook makes it's money off of your privacy.  So, go ahead, buy the phone, and completely turn your life over to Facebook.  They'll be making money off your browsing, texting, banking info (what you spend money on), contact list, location service and the places you visit... everything.  Facebook will know exactly where you go by using your phone's gps.  They will sell all of it to make a dime.
    Facebook is a free service because they want your privacy to sell.  If Facebook subsidizes cell phones to a carrier... probably losing money, then they must have big plans for your personal info.  This is a very bad idea and I can see a lot of young people suckered into it.
  • The idea of a FB phone is rubish. Not a good idea. Did they not try something like this early with htc. I think it was on two phones and it wasn't a full FB phone, built by HTC, ran on android, and had a dedicated FB button. That hole stint did not fare to well at all and it was just a button. Now consider having a full FB phone. What operating system would it run on. Would FB build an opeerating system...becasue as far as I am concerned FB is just an app like everyone has been saying. 
    As far as integrating with WP. I think that could work out well. It would look amazing on the new metro UI. This would be a swell idea. 
  • This makes sense from facebooks standpoint, as they haven't figured out how to make money off of mobile users, and more and more people are using Facebook on mobile devices they really need a phone of their own. The problem with integrating into WP is they they only get the info from you while you use the Facebook app. With their own os they could see what websites you go to outside of fb, see your texts, who calls you, ECT. (like google does with android) this allows them to build up a more accurate profile of you and serve you more targeted ads. From a consumers point of view it makes little sense, but then again I thought that about Android too and look where that went.