Facebook hiring iPhone engineers for smartphone project?

There's more chatter on the Internet today about a possible Facebook smartphone project in the works. The New York Times reports via unnamed sources that the company has hired a number of hardware and software engineers from Apple to work on the smartphone, including some who have worked on the iPhone and one that has worked on the iPad.

The article adds that Facebook has been trying to keep this project a secret. Instead of listing open positions for the smartphone team on its website, the company is reportedly making personal door-to-door offers to join the project. The phone could become a reality sometime in 2013.

The article quotes one of its unnamed sources as saying Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really wants to get into the smartphone hardware business. The source adds that if the company doesn't make this move Zuckerberg fears " ... Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms."

This is not the first time we have heard rumors about such a project. In November, it was reported that Facebook was working with HTC on a Facebook phone, code named "Buffy". Facebook has also been releasing stand alone apps for its service, including Facebook Messenger and most recently a Facebook Camera app. A new rumor hit the Internet this week that claimed Facebook could acquire the Opera web browser company.

Source: New York Times

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20 Comments

McKay said,
A Facebook Phone? A terrible idea IMHO but sadly I can see it selling in bucketloads....

Why do you believe it's a terrible idea? For many of us, Facebook is our favourite service, for many reasons, so we'd appreciate such a smartphone. Right now, I'm considering leaving Windows Phone, and one of those reasons is because it doesn't provide the Facebook features I'd like. That's how important Facebook is to many of us. I'm interested as to why you believe this is a bad idea.

Calum said,

Why do you believe it's a terrible idea? For many of us, Facebook is our favourite service, for many reasons, so we'd appreciate such a smartphone. Right now, I'm considering leaving Windows Phone, and one of those reasons is because it doesn't provide the Facebook features I'd like. That's how important Facebook is to many of us. I'm interested as to why you believe this is a bad idea.

What FB features that WP didn't have?

remixedcat said,
Fix your damn android app first before attempting such nonsense.

Does Facebook develop their Android app themselves, or outsource it like they do their Windows Phone app (that Microsoft develops)?

M_Lyons10 said,

Does Facebook develop their Android app themselves, or outsource it like they do their Windows Phone app (that Microsoft develops)?

I think they make it

remixedcat said,
Fix your damn android app first before attempting such nonsense.

They want everyone using the mobile HTML5 site, the apps will slowly become just a container for this code - this way they can still update server side and not have to worry about users updating the apps.

duddit2 said,

They want everyone using the mobile HTML5 site, the apps will slowly become just a container for this code - this way they can still update server side and not have to worry about users updating the apps.

that's slow as well....

remixedcat said,

I think they make it


Alright, the reason I asked was because Facebook doesn't make a lot of the apps that are branded Facebook. If they can't do these apps themselves, the odds of them making an OS themselves is rather unlikely, not to mention scary... They may have made the Android app, I do not know, but that might be the only one they did make?

M_Lyons10 said,

Alright, the reason I asked was because Facebook doesn't make a lot of the apps that are branded Facebook. If they can't do these apps themselves, the odds of them making an OS themselves is rather unlikely, not to mention scary... They may have made the Android app, I do not know, but that might be the only one they did make?

I think it's the only one...

neufuse said,
Wasn't there already a facebook phone project? I sware I saw that in the past year or two being worked on

Those HTC phones with the dedicated Facebook button?

rfirth said,

Those HTC phones with the dedicated Facebook button?

Yeah, what a joke that was... At least WP integrated it into the OS...

Completely unnecessary... They should just continue a strategy similar to Windows Phone's... All this would do is make it clearer that Facebook is a fad...

M_Lyons10 said,
Completely unnecessary... They should just continue a strategy similar to Windows Phone's... All this would do is make it clearer that Facebook is a fad...

Such a strategy might not be possible for them. Apparently, talks with Apple for integration with the iPhone fell through, and I would they want to alienate some users by going with a specific company for full integration (e.g. Google)? I'd most likely use a Facebook phone over anything else, apart from an Android phone that had great Facebook integration because I dislike Google products including Android. I'm likely going to be using a Mac from now on (unless Facebook also come out with a great desktop OS), so if Facebook solely went with Windows Phone for more deep Facebook integration, it would be hard for me to want to get a Windows Phone, due to how different it looks to the iPhone. Facebook would be alienating me by sticking with the one platform.

I'm hoping this new Facebook phone is the start of something bigger and that they launch a desktop and tablet operating system/hardware sometime in the near future. That might not be the case, but there is currently no company that provides the unified ecosystem I'm after, so I hope Facebook will do that. Even if I went for Windows 8 and Windows Phone (which appear to be okay but not what I'm after), I'd still be using Facebook for most/all of my online web services (email, web search, social networking etc), so I wouldn't have that unified experience I'm after.

Calum said,

Such a strategy might not be possible for them. Apparently, talks with Apple for integration with the iPhone fell through, and I would they want to alienate some users by going with a specific company for full integration (e.g. Google)? I'd most likely use a Facebook phone over anything else, apart from an Android phone that had great Facebook integration because I dislike Google products including Android. I'm likely going to be using a Mac from now on (unless Facebook also come out with a great desktop OS), so if Facebook solely went with Windows Phone for more deep Facebook integration, it would be hard for me to want to get a Windows Phone, due to how different it looks to the iPhone. Facebook would be alienating me by sticking with the one platform.

I'm hoping this new Facebook phone is the start of something bigger and that they launch a desktop and tablet operating system/hardware sometime in the near future. That might not be the case, but there is currently no company that provides the unified ecosystem I'm after, so I hope Facebook will do that. Even if I went for Windows 8 and Windows Phone (which appear to be okay but not what I'm after), I'd still be using Facebook for most/all of my online web services (email, web search, social networking etc), so I wouldn't have that unified experience I'm after.


That seems like a silly argument.

For starters, a "Facebook Phone OS" would most assuredly not look like iOS, thus making that argument for not using Windows Phone moot.

Second, there is a lot more to a phone OS than a list of your friends and what they're doing... Things that I would like to point out that Facebook knows absolutely nothing about, nor how to implement.

Third, from a privacy standpoint, Facebook would probably be the last company that I would trust being the company behind my OS (Mobile or otherwise)... I am sure I am not alone.

Fourth, and I apologize in advance if this sounds harsh, but if a unified experience across desktop and mobile OS's is what you're after, perhaps it would make sense to put your eggs in the basket of a company that at the very least is in at least one of these markets...? It seems rather silly to me to hope that a company that isn't even remotely in this industry will venture into it because you want them, rather than any of the companies currently attempting to offer unified experiences, to do so...

Honestly, I understand the popularity of Facebook, I use it too, but I think (particularly for the reasons you gave) that you are a special case. I just don't think many people so fervently use or support Facebook and ultimately their strength is in providing apps (or where possible integration) on as many platforms as possible. There's just much, MUCH more to a smartphone than Facebook.

Didn't AT&T at one time make a smart phone that had a single button that would take you directly to Facebook?

How long did that last?

texasghost said,
Didn't AT&T at one time make a smart phone that had a single button that would take you directly to Facebook?

How long did that last?

yeah it was HTC and AT&T which was last year.

texasghost said,
Didn't AT&T at one time make a smart phone that had a single button that would take you directly to Facebook?

How long did that last?


Yeah, and the button was in the most awkward place too. Talk about stupid...

Then they branded it as the first Facebook phone even though WP had been out and had it integrated a heck of a lot better from the start too.

And I'd like to point out that the Facebook branding didn't drive sales in this case either.

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