The Facebook Phone project is more than ever before being studied by the social network, with their aim being too quickly reinforce their presence in the mobile field.
Before their difficult stock market listing, numerous risks were raised about Facebook including insufficient mobile access, at a time when more and more users are connecting to the social network via their telephones – something which could lead to a slowdown in growth.
With Facebook to reinforce their mobile revenue, the company has been working on directly integrating their platform into mobile devices for a number of years. In addition to this, they have also been working with numerous manufacturers to create dedicated handsets that come with a direct access button.
In this quest to have an even greater mobile presence, the logical step would be to conceive their own mobile platform to allow them to push their services (of which there are many) and to refine these depending on their needs. This initiative has been the object of speculation for years, with rumours getting louder in 2011 about the Facebook phone via the Buffy project.
The New York Times confirms that a new project is underway, the third covering this subject, with a device to possibly be released in 2013.
This time, engineers who previously worked for Apple on the iPhone have been recruited to work on the Facebook Phone project – with the task appearing to be more complicated than initially planned to build. Facebook remains very quiet on the subject, with it appearing that they contacted the engineers directly rather than advertising for various jobs related to the public.
Despite their numerous links within the mobile industry (OS editors and manufacturers), Facebook wants to have their own hardware and software platform, at least to implement their projects with the help of a smartphone manufacturer in the same way as Google and their Nexus range.
We will have to see how Facebook plans on introducing a dedicated smartphone to an already full market. They could possibly look at very low cost handsets that are even offered for free in exchange for advertising being displayed (in the same way as the Amazon Kindle), knowing that the social network is counting on high volumes to provide as much access as possible to the various services.
The New York Times has also spoken of the possible competition with Google and their Android platform in the entry level range of smartphones.