Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GettyImages
Word that Facebook is aiming to build a smartphone might seem like old news. After all, TechCrunch first reported it in 2010, followed by AllThingsD last year. But the New York Times now says Facebook has hired more than half a dozen former Apple engineers who worked on the iPhone, as well as one that worked on the iPad. The previous smartphone reports were all true, according to the NYT, but the project has been “rebooted several times” because Facebook thought it could figure out the intricacies of building a phone on its own, but has since decided to hire people with experience.
Facebook is hoping to get the phone out by next year, amid fears the mobile world could leave the company behind. “Mark is worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms,” a Facebook employee tells the Times.
The social network has openly admitted it is having trouble monetizing mobile users as the site has seen a huge surge in access to its network from phones and tablets, points out SlashGear. Now that the company has gone public, it is likely under increasing pressure to improve the money-making potential of its mobile users, notes the BBC.
Facebook has refused to confirm or deny rumors but as Business Insider points out, it is slowly releasing the main applications needed for a smartphone “right in plain view.” It recently released Facebook Camera, which could go hand-in-hand with Instagram, it has a Facebook Messages application, an app store, and there are reports it is interested in buying a web browser.