Facebook Is Secretly Building A Phone

Posted: September 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too.

It was a little less than a year ago that we broke the news that Google was working on a phone of it’s own – which was eventually revealed as the Nexus One. It was about that time, says out source, that Facebook first became concerned about the increasing power of the iPhone and Android platforms. And that awesome Facebook apps for those phones may not be enough to counter a long term competitive threat.

Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system.

Two high level Facebook employees – Joe Hewitt

and Matthew Papakipos

– are said to be secretly working on the project, which is unknown even to most Facebook staff.

Both have deep operating system experience.

Hewitt helped create the Firefox browser and was working on Parakey

before it was acquired by Facebook in 2007. Parakey, which never launched, was described as a “Web-based operating system.” Hewitt also created all of Facebook’s iPhone web apps and then native apps, but finally quit building for the iPhone in disgust late last year. But he knows operating systems and he knows mobile.

Papakipos also has a perfect background for this project. He was leading the Google Chrome OS project until June. He then quit and went to Facebook. Papakipos is considered a rockstar developer, and there are any number of jobs he’d be able to do at Facebook.

But that doesn’t answer the question of why he’d leave the Chrome OS project before it was finished. It would have taken something really interesting to lure him away. Something like a Facebook Phone, for example.

So what might this phone look and feel like? We don’t know yet. When will it be announced? Don’t know. But I’d speculate that it would be a lower end phone, something very affordable, that lets people fully integrate into their Facebook world. You call your friend’s name, not some ancient seven digit code, for example. I’d imagine Facebook wanting these things to get into as many hands as possible, so I’d expect a model at a less than $50 price. Pay your bill with Facebook Credits. Etc.

As for timing, the holiday season is always a good time to launch new products. But that may be too soon.

Or who knows, the whole project might get killed before it sees light. All we know for sure is that Hewitt and Papakipos are working on something very stealthy together. And we have a source that tells us that stealthy thing is a Facebook phone.

via techcrunch.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s