Potential Facebook Phone Not Denied by CEO
The "Facebook phone" rumors gained more credibility with a Bloomberg report that quoted "three people familiar with the matter" as saying that the social-networking behemoth is working on two phones, and that AT&T may be the carrier.
The story quotes one of the unidentified sources as saying that the phones will be introduced in Europe in the first half of 2011, with a U.S. launch following in the second half of that year.
More fuel was thrown onto the speculation fire when, in an interview with TechCrunch, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg backpedaled on the company's earlier outright dismissals. For example, Zuckerberg, at the outset of the interview, didn't outright deny that Facebook is working on a phone. "At the end of the day, when people say "building a phone" they actually can mean very different things," he said.
Zuckerberg told TechCrunch that Facebook isn't trying to copy what Apple and Google are doing with their smartphone platforms: "We're not trying to compete with Apple or the Droid or any other hardware manufacturer for that matter." Throughout the entire interview, however, Zuckerberg never categorically states that Facebook isn't working on a phone.
The Web site GigaOM also claimed that the Facebook phone is coming, and disputed the timing reported by Bloomberg. The phones aren't yet ready for testing, according to the report, which means they won't be ready by the first half of next year.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.