Is a Facebook Phone Coming?

Is Facebook secretly building a smartphone to rival Android, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 in the lava-hot market? Facebook says "No," but others are saying "Yes."

Rumors of a Facebook phone took off with a report by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, who quoted a source with "knowledge of the project." Google and Apple, Arrington writes, are seen by Facebook as a threat, mainly due to their mobile platforms, leading to the undertaking of the project.

"Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system," Arrington states.

Facebook immediately countered the claims of a Facebook phone with a statement to the Web site Mashable. "The story, which originated in Techcrunch, is not accurate. Facebook  is not building a phone," the statement reads.

Arrington pointed to Facebook's recent hiring of developers with strong knowledge of operating systems and mobile platforms as evidence of the company's plans. Facebook denied this as well, saying the people mentioned in the TechCrunch story are working on projects relating to integration with existing mobile devices.

If such a phone is being designed and built, it will use Android as the basis for its OS, according to the Web site Silicon Alley Insider (SAI). Since Android is an open-source platform, there would be nothing stopping Facebook from using the code as the basis for its own OS.

As for Facebook's denials that it's building a phone, another story on TechCrunch points out that Apple, Google and Microsoft have all claimed at one time or another that they weren't working on a smartphone. One thing's for sure: Now that the rumor is out there, this is a story that won't die anytime soon.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.