The “Facebook phone” rumors just won’t die. And that’s probably because Facebook will launch an own-branded smartphone eventually.
According to The New York Times, Facebook wants to introduce the handset “by next year.” The info reportedly comes from some Facebook employees, engineers, and unnamed people who are aware of the company’s plans.
Interestingly, it’s said that, in order to develop its phone, Facebook recently hired software and hardware engineers who used to work for Apple (including one who contributed to making the iPhone, and one who had iPad-related tasks). If this is true, it could mean Facebook plans to place orders for its own phone to an Asian ODM directly, without needing HTC’s contribution (we’ve heard more than once that HTC would manufacture the device, but, of course, this may not be the case).
It’s not clear yet if Facebook’s first phone will be a full-touch slate, or a QWERTY-equipped candybar (like the HTC ChaCha – which is one of the few Android handsets that feature Facebook-dedicated buttons). Also, we don’t know how Facebook will sell the phone – via mobile operators, via retailers, or maybe directly? But we’ll probably find out more details soon, so stay tuned.
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