We're 'not building a phone,' Facebook insists

But deeper integration of social experiences and mobile devices is under way

Rumors Monday that Facebook is building a mobile phone evolved later in the day to a Facebook spokeswoman insisting that the social networking giant simply wants to "integrate deeply into existing platforms and operating systems." And it's not working on any phone.

Facebook "is not building a phone," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail. She stressed that Facebook is working with phone manufacturers on "deeper integrations" of its social networking phenomenon, which now has grown to more than 500 million regular visitors.

"Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social, not build a phone," the spokeswoman said. "Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating system is a good way to enable this."

Facebook already has apps for the iPhone and Android phones, so it's not clear how much deeper it might want to get with OS integration. Facebook is not a hardware maker, but could easily partner with a hardware maker to put Facebook on the home page of a new phone, bloggers and analysts noted.

The company pointed out its Connect for iPhone to see the kind of integration Facebook already provides with contact syncing. In addition, the INQ1 phone from 3 has Facebook integration and was called the 'Facebook Phone' when introduced in 2009, the spokesperson noted.

Techcrunch seemed to kick off the speculation on Sunday with a headline, "Facebook is Secretly Building a Phone," and story quoting an unnamed source with knowledge of the project.

According to the story, Facebook is building phone software and working with a third-party firm on hardware. Techcrunch also reported that two high-level Facebook employees -- Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos -- are secretly working on the project. Papakopos worked on the Google Chrome OS until June before leaving for Facebook.

Developing the OS and other software for a phone would be quite different from making a Facebook app available for a new phone on an existing OS. But the integration Facebook may now envision could move beyond the way some phones already work, which includes making it possible to click on a person's name to dial the number or to send a text, for example.

The Facebook spokeswoman added that Hewitt and Papakipos are working on the phone-related projects, and hinted at how the Techcrunch story may have gotten started: "The bottom line is that whenever we work on deep integration, people want to call it a "Facebook Phone" (even internally) because that's such an attractive soundbite, but our real strategy is to make everything social and not building one phone or integration."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesFacebookmobile phonesPhonesconsumer electronicsMobile handsets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?