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Facebook phone out ‘by next year,’ ex-Apple engineers sign on

Reports this weekend suggest that Facebook is, once again, keen on launching its own-branded smartphone, with the company said to be on a recruitment drive to bring in the top engineering talent.

The New York Times says the social network has hired six hardware and software specialists with iPhone experience with the aim to get a smartphone to market by next year.

Not just another app

The report points out that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is keenly involved with interviewing candidates for the project, codenamed Buffy, with sources claiming the billionaire Harvard drop-out is worried that Facebook could become “just another app.”

A Facebook employee said of the top secret project:

“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,”

If the reports are true, it wouldn’t be the first time the social network has sought more than a foothold in the mobile market. It is still thought to be working on a Facebook phone with HTC, while INQ has launched handsets with deep Facebook integration in the last couple of years. However, according to the NYT, this device will be built in house.

The company is under pressure to find new revenue streams following its contentious IPO and is keen to broaden beyond its Facebook.com and mobile apps roots, according to the report.

Via: New York Times

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