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Facebook may launch a smartphone

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Smartphone engineers hired

It has been reported that social media giant Facebook may launch its own smartphone within the next year.

According to the technology blog of US newspaper the New York Times, which cites anonymous Facebook workers as its main sources, new recruitment activity at the company has included smartphone engineers and internal discussions have included future plans for mobile development.

NYT journalist Nick Bilton said in his blog post: “One Facebook employee said the phone project had been rebooted several times because Facebook originally thought it could figure out hardware on its own. The company has since learned that it needed to bring in people with phone-making experience [...] So it is hiring hardware engineers to work with a phone manufacturer and design the shape, style and inner workings of a Facebook phone.”

Bid to improve mobile strategy

Facebook’s recent initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market has led to a great deal of speculation about its mobile strategy, as the business admitted before floating that its advertising model was based on desktop presentation and it was therefore difficult to monetise the increasing amount of mobile access.

Its attempts to redress this situation have included the recent launch of the App Centre, which aims to highlight the best applications available online, including its own products and those of other companies such as Apple and Google – though users need to go outside the store to download externally-produced apps.

Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: “Despite being seen as a groundbreaker and leader in many respects, Facebook has been slow to respond to the explosive growth in smartphone use and may see launching its own handset as a way to really make its presence felt in that market.”

Written by Liane Baddeley

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