Facebook has announced that they have hired James Pearce to be their new head of mobile developer relations. Pearce currently works for Sencha, a software company that specializes in HTML5 web apps. According to a post on his blog, Pearce leaves Sencha today to begin a six week boot camp at Facebook.
Given both his previous job experience and his new title, Pearce’s hiring today seems to lend weight to the rumors that Facebook intends to carve its own niche in the mobile phone market. Rumors have been circulating for years that Facebook was planning to create their own mobile phone. Early on these rumors persisted in spite of Facebook’s attempt to deny them. This week, however, the idea of a Facebook phone was given new life by a report from AllThingsD that Facebook had selected mobile manufacturer HTC to construct its handset, which would run a heavily modified version of Google’s Android operating system.
The Facebook phone’s OS would rely heavily on HTML5 and, of course, carry deep Facebook integration - perhaps not unlike the Twitter integration recently added to the iPhone in iOS 5. A possible mock-up of the HTC handset, supposedly code-named “Buffy” (yes, that Buffy) can be seen below:
Skepticism abounds regarding the rumored project, with many convinced that Facebook integration would not be a sufficient selling point for a mobile phone. Moreover, the privacy concerns that have dogged Facebook for so long seem to be amplified by the rumors of a Facebook phone. The results of an informal web poll conducted by AllThingsD show that 81% of respondents find the idea of a phone with deep Facebook integration creepy.
What do you think? Is Facebook wasting its time by trying to break into the mobile market? Would you buy a Facebook phone? Let us know in the comments.