Facebook mobile phone rumors reappear

As the next step in its mobile strategy, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is reportedly building a smartphone. Indeed, we're told that it's hiring engineers from Apple (NASDQ:AAPL). In IT Blogwatch, bloggers add 2+2.  

By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Guess the FUNCTION of the THING...

Marc Ferranti reports:

Facebook wants to release a smartphone by next year, and has picked up former [iPhone] engineers...as well one who worked on the iPad, according to [a NYT report]. ... An effort started several years ago...fell apart when it became clear that the company did not have the expertise necessary.

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[And] reports have emerged that Facebook may acquire...Opera Software, developer of browsers for desktops and mobile phones. ... [All this] come[s] within a week after Google closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility.   
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Nick Bilton has the deep-throated scoop:

Employees of Facebook...several engineers who have been sought out by recruiters...[and] people briefed on Facebook’s plans, say [it plans] its own smartphone. ... These people spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

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For Facebook, the motivation is clear; as a newly public company, it must find new sources of revenue, and it fears being left behind in mobile, one of the most promising areas for growth.

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If [Facebook has] the opportunity to continually put ads in front of people on a smartphone screen...the only question left would be to pick [a] ringtone that makes that ka-ching sound.   
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And Jay Yarow says all the pieces are coming together:

[In] plain view Facebook is assembling the core applications needed for a successful smartphone operating system.

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This week it rolled out "Facebook Camera." ... It has a "Facebook Messages" application. ... It has a Facebook app store. ... And it's reportedly interested in buying Opera. ... Other core apps like contacts and a calendar are already baked into Facebook...[and] it could probably get a Bing-based mapping app.   
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But Jamie Condliffe wonders if Facebook is under-estimating how hard it'll be:

Perhaps rather ambitiously, [Nick Bilton] also suggests that Facebook might even release a phone as early as next year. It...certainly seems like Zuckerberg is still keen to give the idea a shot.   
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Frankly, Fernando Fonseca is fed up with being fed fripperies:

The media will report these rumors...many times...one day they will actually get it right. ... [It's] utterly irresponsible journalism.

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[Facebook] had its very shady IPO just one week ago. That this news resurfaces...just in time for another week of trading is not a coincidence.

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In other news: Google is going to launch a YouTube phone... Oh, wait!   
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And Finally...

Guess the FUNCTION of the THING    

 
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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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