We have lost count of the number of times we’ve heard rumors of a Facebook phone over the last couple of years. Every now and then things go quiet and then it all kicks off again. Only last month we told of new speculation regarding HTC producing a Facebook phone and now reports say that Facebook is currently hiring engineers in a big to come up with a dedicated smartphone.
This latest news doesn’t seem connected with the recent HTC Facebook phone rumor although just as equally it could be connected. Facebook is apparently hiring both hardware and software engineers but whether this is really linked to a Facebook smartphone seems to be in question. If it is true though and a Facebook phone is now in development this would be a huge addition to the smartphone market, especially if Facebook were to develop its own operating system.
An article on Ubergizmo points to Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS as examples of industry changers and Google makes around $1 billion a year from Android so a Facebook OS and handset would mean huge extra revenue to Facebook. News of the hirings came from The New York Times and Ubergizmo did some digging of their own and was able to confirm the fact that Facebook has indeed been hiring engineers that don’t seem to have anything to do with web development, network infrastructure or social networks.
However it’s pretty difficult for newcomers to get a foothold in an already crowded market although of course Facebook has more resources than many to help out in this respect. Would manufacturers be willing to join a Facebook ecosystem and use a brand-new OS when Android is already so well established? Would developers really want to get their heads around another operating system? Would a Facebook smartphone really have enough different about it to offer to users? These are all questions where the answers appear doubtful.
Mashable also reports on the Facebook hiring and tells how a new Facebook phone could become available by next year. We’ll certainly be waiting to find out more and especially whether a whole ecosystem including a Facebook OS and phone is being developed or whether it’s just an OS or just a phone.
What are your thoughts on this? What would a Facebook phone or OS have to offer to lure you away from your current handset? Would you be interested in a Facebook phone?
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