A Facebook Phone Being Built Secretly? Possibly, But Facebook Denies As Rumor

Earlier this weekend, Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch published a story called “Facebook Is Secretly Building a Phone.” The story posts that Facebook is deep in development on a brand-new smartphone platform, evidenced by the reports of one unnamed source and by the supposed activities of two high-level Facebook employees, Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos.

Facebook Possibly (Secretly) Building A Phone But Denies As Rumor

The Facebook phone was allegedly going to be a low-cost, entry level phone that, naturally, deeply integrates Facebook’s social networking features. The rumor originated from TechCrunch, and was then fueled even more by AlleyInsider, who claimed that the social network was building a new phone and definitely using Android.

TechCrunch.com said Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and core functions of a mobile phone, which it can only do if it controls the phone’s operating system.

However, Facebook quickly denied the allegations/rumors. “The story, which originated in Techcrunch, is not accurate. Facebook is not building a phone. Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social. Current projects include include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers.  Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating systems is a good way to enable this. For an example, check out Connect for iPhone and the integration we have with contact syncing through our iPhone app.  Another example is the INQ1 phone with Facebook integration (the first so-called ‘Facebook Phone’). The people mentioned in the story are working on these projects“, Jaime Schopflin, a spokesperson for Facebook said.

The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a ‘Facebook Phone’ because that’s such an attractive sound bite, but building phones is just not what we do,” Schopflin added.

Facebook’s denial comes after Google Inc last year dismissed media reports about its plans to build a phone, and then later came out with the Nexus One. So this denial is not something concrete to calm down our skeptical minds. What if, Facebook too is building a smartphone and wants to take everyone by surprise? Well, that would not be something that has not happened before!

If you look closely at the Facebook’s denial statement, perhaps Schopflin was careful to phrase the statement in such a way that, in the event a Facebook phone does come into existence, the statement would still hold true. Interestingly, Google said almost the same exact thing before the Nexus One was born. Google technically didn’t build the phone, HTC did, but it was branded and sold by Google and called a “Google phone” by many. It is a different story though that Google had to end the online sales of Nexus One due to poor response!

So, Facebook-branded, social-networking-focused Android phone? Not unlikely! An Android phone with heavy Facebook integration? Could happen. Keep your fingers crossed guys. After being called as a liar, at least Michael Arrington, who wrote the TechCrunch article stating a Facebook phone was in the works, is keeping his fingers crossed and waiting to be proved otherwise.


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