Facebook may be building a smartphone with former Apple engineers

The number of users accessing Facebook on their mobile phones and smartphones have surpassed those who access it on their computers. This trend, however, gained momentum only over the last couple of years, especially since smartphones featuring a dedicated Facebook app came into the picture. These allowed one to easily access the social networking site on-the-go with all the possible features neatly concised into what most would consider a user-friendly app. Naturally relevant updates made to the website will find their way to the apps as well.


Facebook, has made a few attempts already to introduce a social networking-friendly handset in the past and tied up with a few companies, like HTC to develop and release "Facebook Phones". Devices like the Android powered HTC Salsa and HTC ChaCha, didn't quite receive as much success as hoped and so it was back to the drawing board. The most recent attempt at chashing in on thier mobile fame came in the form of the Vodafone Facebook Phone the Blue 555. The Java-based QWERTY device, although not a smartphone, integrated a great deal of the social network into a simple, yet chic looking handset. Unfortunately it seemed that its popularity, too has passed. 


Seeing how immensely powerful the smartphone has become in recent times, the social networking giant is once again eyeing the mobile handset segmengt to make a mark. It now appears that the brand could be working on yet another FB oriented devcice. A report in the New York Times suggests that Facebook has hired former Apple employees to build a smartphone as part of their 2013 project, codenamed ‘Buffy.’ As per the report, “The company has already hired more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPad, the employees and those briefed on the plans said.”

Facebook irks users

Facebook building another smartphone?


The news about project Buffy surfaced last year, when reports came in stating that Facebook was planning to launch a smartphone with social networking at its core and not merely a handset with a dedicated Facebook button, as found on the HTC ChaCha. The report states, “Now, the company has been going deeper into the process, by expanding the group working on "Buffy," and exploring other smartphone projects too, creating a team of seasoned hardware engineers who have built the devices before. One engineer who formerly worked at Apple and worked on the iPhone said he met with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, who then peppered him with questions about the inner workings of smartphones. It did not sound like idle intellectual curiosity, the engineer said; Mr. Zuckerberg asked about intricate details, including the types of chips used, he said. Another former Apple hardware engineer was recruited by a Facebook executive and was told about the company's hardware explorations.”

The report also states that Facebook is not publicizing this smartphone project and everything is being kept under wraps, instead of going ‘door-to-door to find the right talent.’

Facebook recently announced the Facebook Camera, which in retrospect appears to be the brand's attempt at paving the way for a heavily customized operating software for their smartphone. In another bit of information that could also indicate at a probable smartphone from Facebook, a report by Pocket-lint states that the social networking website may be looking to buy Internet browser, Opera. This would also help them to quite an extent to develop a dedicated browsing experience with a formidable player in the mobile and PC browser field. 


What OS will be used for this device is yet unknown. If we had to sepculate, then we would consider Android, seeing there's no conceivable way that Apple would concede to a third party company using their OS and Android's Open Source policy makes for easy customization. Perhaps HTC might be on the list as well as the manufcaturers again, but that's just a thought. 

Let us know your thoughts on the possibility of Facebook building a smartphone in the comments section below.

Published Date: May 28, 2012 11:00 am | Updated Date: May 28, 2012 11:00 am