Zuck: No, seriously, we're not building a Facebook phone

Some rumours just never seem to die - like the one that Apple will build its own HDTV or that Microsoft is planning to launch its own smartphone. Another persistent rumour that seems to live on regardless of what gets thrown at it is the notion that Facebook is developing its own mobile device. 

It's a story that's done the rounds more times than we care to remember, and often with a twist: the grapevine has previously revealed that the Facebook phone could run the Windows Phone OS; or that it might run a Linux-based OS with an Opera browser; and even after the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, explicitly denied that any such plans were in the works last year, a "very reliable source" claimed that HTC was creating the new Facebook phone under the development codename 'Opera UL'. 

Yesterday, as CNET reports, Zuckerberg reiterated on an earnings call with investors and analysts that there's simply no truth to the rumours. "We're not going to build a phone," he said, adding: "It's not the right strategy for us to build one integrated system. Let's say we sell 10 million units - that would be 1 percent of users." 

Indeed, this is the point that the rumours of a Facebook phone seem to ignore. As the company revealed yesterday that it has 1.06 billion active users, it also pointed out that it now has more users accessing its services via mobile devices than from the desktop. Facebook doesn't need its own smartphone to push its services to the mobile forefront; it needs to ensure its services are accessible on all the mobile devices out there, which is precisely what the company has been doing so far.

As Zuckerberg himself explained: "We have a billion people using our products, and we need to make Facebook really good across all the devices that they use. Rather than just building an app that's a version of the functionality that you have today, I think making it so that we can just go deeper and deeper is going to be a big focus for us."

So, there you have it: better functionality and deeper integration with existing platforms is where Facebook is headed in mobile - so if you've been holding your breath for a Facebook phone any time soon, it's probably time to breathe out. 

Source: CNET | Concept artwork via dotpod

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