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Is Facebook Working On a Smartphone? 160

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports that Facebook has resumed its stealthy efforts to create a smartphone, apparently to assert its position in an Internet increasingly accessed via mobile devices, and to counter products and moves made by major competitors Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. The Times reports that Mark Zuckerberg has gotten personally involved in the project, which has recently landed several iPhone/iPad engineers from Apple. Wired ran a similar story a month ago, reporting that Facebook has ramped up its "Buffy" code-named collaboration with HTC on a phone which will probably be Android-based, support HTML5 and include a large touchscreen and high-quality camera (for Instagram). Facebook won't confirm or deny these reports."
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Is Facebook Working On a Smartphone?

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  • focus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @02:33PM (#40136387)

    isn't that a sign of lack of focus? the same that afflicts google now?

  • The real question: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AdrianKemp ( 1988748 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @02:35PM (#40136407)

    Do they need to work on it at all?

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and put two possible scenarios out there:

    1) Facebook makes a phone, and millions of Facebook drones buy it for no reason other than the fact that it's "the Facebook phone"

    2) Facebook makes a phone, and millions of Facebook drones buy it because it's the Facebook phone, another few thousand buy it because it's legitimately better hardware.

    Now sure, I'm oversimplifying here... but I really feel like they would be just as far ahead to have Samsung rebrand an S III with their logo on it and call it a day. So to that end, I have my doubts about them working on it.

    (also, what the hell is with the autocorrection of facebook to Facebook...)

  • I'm just waiting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MsWhich ( 2640815 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @02:54PM (#40136555) Homepage

    for the FaceHouse. Automatically "checks you in" when you walk through the front door. Updates your Timeline with a graph of your daily shower times, for easy comparison with your friends. Knows exactly what you stock your fridge and pantry with so that it can appropriately target fridge-front ads at your specific buying habits. Senses when you've been sitting at your computer for over two hours playing a game and calls the Facebook-sponsored pizza place for you to have a pizza delivered. (As specified in the Snack Delivery settings section of your Preferences. Default reset to Maximum Delivery Mode as of March; users can of course change it back if they manage to see this notice, find the settings dialog, and then check the appropriate boxes three separate times so that Facebook knows they're really sure.)

    And of course everyone will want a FaceHouse. I mean, why wouldn't you? Do you have something to hide?

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @03:04PM (#40136653)

    My guess is that they are targeting the low-end of the market that has a high-end feature phone now but can't afford a traditional smartphone. The kind with a texting keyboard, weak camera and limited internet access via carrier apps.

    My guess is the idea is to provide a phone optimized for Facebook and picture taking but with low end enough specs that it can be sold very cheaply.

    My guess is that there are a lot of people at this end of the market who use Facebook on PCs and who see a smartphone's primary purpose as being for Facebook or social media and who would take hardware more comparable to a real smartphone even if most of what it did well was Facebook.

    Done well, Facebook could create an ecosystem of Facebook apps exclusive to this platform and along with their data mining sell the phones at cost and actually make money on the larger project.

    Done poorly, it's a train wreck. Either way, I don't see any kind of Facebook phone taking Apple or Android's place.

  • by Cutting_Crew ( 708624 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @04:46PM (#40137225)
    a phone that is Yahooed or even a phone that is verizoned. I want a phone. If i want to put facebook, yahoo, verizon stuff on my phone then I will do it. I dont see why companies are trying to come out with their own versions of phones that are supposed to be agnostic. We dont need any more walled gardens.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle