Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said what many consumers have long been thinking: That it “won’t make much sense” for Facebook to build its own phone. During Thursday’s earnings report call, Zuckerberg was asked whether his company planned to get into the hardware business to expand its brand further into the mobile realm. After denying that his company planned to make its own phone, Zuckerberg explained that the company was for now content to work with the big-time smartphone players to make Facebook an integral part of the mobile experience for smartphone users and emphasize that “that’s why we’re supporting Apple and working closely with them.” More →
Facebook has reportedly hired more than half a dozen former Apple engineers as part of renewed efforts to build an own-brand smartphone. According to a recent report from The New York Times, the hires are comprised of former hardware and software engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one engineer who worked on the iPad. Why the renewed interest in a Facebook phone? “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,” an anonymous Facebook employee reportedly told the Times. Rumors of the “Facebook phone” resurfaced last month after the rumor mill had been silent on the matter for some time. The previous round of rumors suggesting Facebook was working with HTC on an own-brand phone were off base; HTC ended up launching a pair of low-end smartphones with dedicated Facebook sharing buttons rather than a Facebook-branded device. It may have been for the best, however — a study conducted earlier this year found that most consumers wouldn’t be interested in a smartphone offering from Facebook.
Along with an iPhone nano and an iPad mini, rumors of a “Facebook phone” have repeatedly piqued interest as they come and go. The first round of reports surfaced in 2010, but was shot down when Facebook denied that it was working on its own smartphone with hardware and software partner HTC. The handsets that were thought to be Facebook phones ended up being unveiled the following month as the HTC Chacha and HTC Salsa, but consumers weren’t terribly interested in mid-range Android phones with a dedicated Facebook sharing button. Rumors resurfaced this past November before dissipating as quickly as they came, but now — whether or not consumers are actually interested in the possibility of a Facebook-branded smartphone — talk of a Facebook phone has returned once again. More →
Rumors surrounding a possible Facebook phone have been swirling for years, and the social networking giant has repeatedly denied reports that it is planning to launch an own-brand handset. While a number of industry watchers thought the company would fare well with a Facebook phone, a recent survey suggests that consumers are largely uninterested in a Facebook-branded smartphone. Baird Equity recently surveyed 875 consumers and found that just 12% said they were “very interested” or at least “interested” in a Facebook phone while 73% said they were “probably not interested” or “not interested.” Meanwhile more than 40% of those polled said they were either “very interested” or “interested” in a smartphone from retail giant Amazon, and 29% weren’t interested. Amazon has been rumored on several occasions to have a smartphone in the works. With consumer interest in an Amazon smartphone at a seemingly healthy level and Kindle Fire adoption having exploded last quarter, 2012 could be a good year for the retailer to enter the smartphone space. A table showing Baird’s findings follows below. More →
Thanks in part to the multitude of mobile apps available across every smartphone platform, consumers seem to be uninterested in the own-brand handset Facebook is reportedly developing — security concerns may be an issue as well, of course. According to a recent report, Facebook is working with HTC on a new smartphone code-named “Buffy” that will feature a customized version of the Android operating system with deep Facebook integration. The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD blog recently conducted a survey to assess interest in the Facebook-branded smartphone, and the results are telling. As of Monday morning, more than 81% of respondents want nothing to do with a Facebook phone. Approximately 11% said they might consider the handset depending on features and security, and less than 8% said they would want to buy the handset. Facebook has been rumored to be working on an own-brand smartphone for more than a year, but the company has repeatedly denied the claims. More →
Last year, there were plenty of rumors that Facebook was working on building a phone of its own. Ultimately, a pair of humdrum devices with a simple “Facebook button” ended up hitting the market, and the rumors stopped… until now. On Monday, AllThingsD said it has learned that Facebook is working closely with HTC on a new phone currently codenamed “Buffy.” The device will supposedly run a modified version of Android that, obviously, will put Facebook’s services smack in the faces of its users. The two companies are also working to add support so that developers can write HTML5 apps for the phone. “Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social,” a Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD, declining to comment specifically on the secret phone. “We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world.” Facebook has repeatedly denied any interest in creating an own-brand device and the spokesperson’s quote is on a par with what the company has said in the past. More →
Motorola on Friday quietly published images and details to its website surrounding the MOTOKEY SOCIAL, a feature phone with a strong focus on Facebook. Like HTC’s Chacha and Salsa, this upcoming Motorola phone features a dedicated Facebook button that simplifies the process of sharing images and status updates on the popular social network. The MOTOKEY SOCIAL also features a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.4-inch QVGA display, a 3-megapixel camera, email, Web access and a 910 mAh battery rated for 480 minutes of talk time. Pricing and launch details have not yet been announced. More →
As Hewlett-Packard reportedly toys with the idea of selling off its webOS software division, a new possible suitor may emerge from the dust following the burial of HP’s failed webOS devices. In a note to investors on Thursday, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek suggests that Facebook might be in the best position to purchase webOS and use it to expand its lead in the social space. “Based on our analysis of prospective buyers and our checks, we believe Facebook is the best fit,” the analyst wrote according to Tech Trader Daily. Read on for more. More →
The Motorola EX225 has been revealed by the Bluetooth SIG and images of the phone show a dedicated Facebook button. The EX225 looks nearly identical to the HTC Status and, like that phone, is expected to offer a fully Facebook-integrated user interface, a 2.4-inch touchscreen display and a full QWERTY keyboard. In August, a report suggested that AT&T was going to discontinue the Status after the phone failed to attract a substantial customer base but AT&T immediately dispel the rumor, stating “The HTC Status is a great product and our plans for it to be part of our portfolio haven’t changed.” Now, it looks like other companies will try to follow HTC’s lead. A second image of the EX225 suggests Motorola also has plans for a version of the phone without a Facebook button, and that version could launch as a dual-SIM device. The second image follows below. More →
AT&T is reportedly considering pulling the HTC Status Facebook phone from its smartphone lineup due to slower than expected sales. The rumor comes by way of TechCrunch, which reports that it has confirmed the Status’ lackluster sales with multiple sources. AT&T is said to be preparing to discontinue the phone after just over a month on the market. AT&T’s HTC Status is an Android-powered QWERTY smartphone with a dedicated Facebook button that simplifies the process of sharing content on the world’s most popular social network. With the wide availability of native Facebook applications on iOS, Android and other popular platforms, however, consumers are seemingly content with other options and aren’t willing to sacrifice screen size for a Facebook button.
UPDATE: An AT&T spokesperson sent BGR the following statement via email: “The HTC Status is a great product and our plans for it to be part of our portfolio haven’t changed.” More →
AT&T on Monday announced pre-order availability of its first “Facebook Phone,” the HTC Status. Social butterflies on the nation’s No. 2 wireless carrier can pre-order the sleek smartphone for $49.99 on contract beginning immediately, and the phone will arrive in stores this Sunday, July 17th. Aimed squarely at young Facebook fanatics, the HTC Status features Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, a QWERTY keypad, a 5-megapixel camera and a dedicated Facebook sharing button. “We can’t wait to put the HTC Status in the hands of our young customers who will waste no time tapping into Facebook to update their friends,” said AT&T Senior VP of Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets Jeff Bradley in a statement. “We’re also really pleased to offer the hottest new smartphone at an affordable price to this important, socially savvy youth market.” Also of note, Best Buy will be the exclusive purveyor of the HTC Status in a special limited edition mauve color when the phone launches next week. AT&T’s full press release follows below. More →
It looks like the puzzle surrounding the much rumored “Facebook phones” is now beginning to come together thanks to a pair of purported press shots revealed on Monday. Mobile blog pocketnow.com has obtained what appears to be two official mock-ups depicting upcoming Android smartphones from HTC. The most notable feature found on each of these unannounced devices, of course, is the presence of a dedicated Facebook button complete with the Facebook logo. It is unclear what the function of the Facebook button might be, though it seems apparent that the smartphones will feature deep integration with the popular social network. Earlier reports regarding these devices suggested they might launch as Facebook-branded smartphones built for the company by HTC, but Facebook later denied the claims. BGR also exclusively reported possible additional details surrounding the devices last last month. While the phones will apparently not launch as Facebook-branded devices, it is still possible that other details from previous reports are accurate. According to pocketnow.com’s report, the full touchscreen device seen above will launch as the HTC Icon while the QWERTY-equipped smartphone seen after the break will be the HTC Snap 2.
Facebook on Thursday denied earlier reports that HTC is preparing to unveil multiple Facebook-branded smartphones next month at Mobile World Congress. “This is really just another example of a manufacturer who has taken our public APIs (application programing interfaces) and integrated them into their device in an interesting way,” Facebook’s head of business development Dan Rose told reporters.”The rumors around there being something more to this HTC device are overblown.” Rose did not comment on whether or not Facebook is currently working on branded cell phones without HTC’s involvement. More →