Rumors of the Facebook phone have been doing the rounds of the Interweb for quite some time now. In fact, there has been quite a number of Facebook approved handsets including the HTC ChaCha, HTC Status and the likes which have made their presence felt in the past. In India and other emerging markets, Facebook had also in the past released handsets like the Vodafone 555 Blue which if you recall was heavily promoted by Vodafone. However, until now, most “Facebook Phones” out there were in fact handsets made by other vendors- for Facebook and were customized for Facebook usage. We hadn’t seen a “real” Facebook handset released by Facebook themselves.
Well according to a recent New York Times report, this is what would happen early next year when Facebook would have likely completed work on its own Facebook phone. The publications’ Nick Bilton who has reported about this possible development cites his sources as Facebook employees and various engineers associated with Facebook. He adds that Facebook has already hired more than six former Apple employees who have worked on the iPhone. There is also talk about at least one ex Apple employee who was a part of the iPad team. All this- for the development of this mythical Facebook phone.
What is still unclear is whether Facebook is tying up with any other manufacturer to make this phone a reality. In the past, there have been reports about Facebook reportedly tying up with HTC to release a Facebook phone this year. Nothing concrete seems to have come out of that until now.
Facebook’s interest in all things mobile seems to have heightened of late. After buying out popular app Instagram, it also recently announced its own Facebook Camera app a few days ago making its intentions clear. If that wasn’t all, there were separate reports of the social networking giant mulling to take over browser maker Opera as well.
Facebook is yet to officially talk about any plans to introduce a smartphone of its own. But we wouldn’t be surprised to see them launching one at least by the end of 2012. What do you folks think?