The smartphone war has heated up over the last few years. While there were plenty of smartphones and PDAs out there in the wild well before the launch of the original iPhone, we all know what happened to the market the moment the iDevice hit the scene. And now, as our smartphones get smarter, and there’s further integration with our favorite social networking sites –like Facebook–, it’s come to TechCrunch‘s attention that the social networking giant is now currently working on their very own, low-end phone.
Reportedly, Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos have been drafted into the project of building the “Facebook phone,” and “are secretly working on the project” right now. All of this is coming down the pipe from a “source who has knowledge of the project,” as all of these things usually do. Facebook is apparently concerned with the presence that Apple and Google have in the market, and the way that they have so eloquently integrated social networking into their devices. We’ve seen how well that Android integrates the service, and there’s apps in the App Store to make sure that your contacts in your iPhone are synced, too. Apparently, Facebook sees these companies as competitors now. However, the report suggests that Facebook would actually market their phone in the lower-end, where it would cost something like $50 or less. We’re not sure that’s necessarily a direct competitor to the iPhone or any high-end Android device.
There’s plenty of questions in here. But, as Facebook quickly clarified, they aren’t working on a phone. However, it looks like they went out of their way to put a “not going to happen” sticker on this rumor. Most companies would have just said something along the lines of “We do not comment on rumors,” or something to that effect. But, no, Facebook’s PR team managed to put a lot of effort into their denial, saying that Facebook is continuously finding new ways to integrate their services, but that they are not working on a phone.
Both Hewitt and Papakipos have worked in the mobile space, and we imagine that if anyone anywhere near Facebook would be named in this report, it would be them. But, does Facebook really see an opportunity to make a super-cheap device that integrates your contacts into Facebook, despite the fact that many people out their already have a device that does exactly that? If TechCrunch is accurate in their speculation and sources, then it looks like within the next year or so Facebook will pop out their own “Facebook phone.” Will the masses race towards it like the company would certainly hope they would? Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out. Let us know in the comments what you think of a Facebook phone.