As anyone who follows it is well aware, the Facebook phone saga has more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Are we, or are we not going to see Facebook develop their own smartphone with a modified OS that focuses everything around the Facebook experience?
As of now, Mark Zuckerberg says no.
“We believe that all these consumer products people use can become social over time, but we can’t build these things ourselves. Over time, it might make sense to build some of these things ourselves.”
And then later, “Building out a whole phone really wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.”
Slightly mixed messages? Sure. But that final statement makes it pretty clear that if nothing else, Zuckerberg is set on keeping any plans to launch a Facebook phone under wraps. Or maybe there really isn’t a Facebook phone in the works.
That, of course, would fly in the face of reports that surfaced just yesterday which touted a Facebook/HTC collaboration that would result in a Facebook-branded phone sometime in mid-2013.
Yesterday definitely wasn’t the first time we’ve heard of a Facebook/HTC partnership. That’s been discussed going all the way back to early 2011, where rumors of a big Mobile World Conference reveal were eventually dashed. This April, we heard that a Facebook/HTC phone would be launching in Q3 on this year, running a modified Android OS.
Still, the latest rumors put a half a dozen former Apple engineers working on the project. But then again, Zuckerberg said that it just wouldn’t make sense. But of course, in some ways, in would make perfect sense. Facebook’s been struggling with mobile – both in terms of monetization and in terms of their much maligned iOS app. Building an entire smartphone around the Facebook experience could help both.