Rumors of a Facebook phone are bubbling up again. Facebook was supposedly working to launch its own phone around the beginning of 2012, but that didn’t materialize. Apparently, it is working with HTC now to build its own smartphone, and launch it in 2013.
It is developing a “modified operating system” for the device, possibly a heavily customized version of Android, and also continues to focus on its mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Facebook has more than 900 million monthly active users with a lot of them accessing the service via their mobile phones.
It still hasn’t been able to figure out a good way to monetize its growing mobile audience, because of which analysts and investors alike are concerned about its future revenue potential. Its stock price crashed right after it went public on concerns that it might never be able to figure out the mobile monetization puzzle, which, admittedly, is a tough nut to crack.
Facebook’s official statement says:
“Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. 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 hired some Apple iPhone engineers to work on its phone hardware, and also made some talent acquisitions to work on improving its mobile apps and presumably its mobile OS.
If Facebook ties in its services deeply with its smartphone, and manages to sell a ton of devices, it might be able to generate a significant amount of revenue from mobile advertising, and also reduce its dependence on Apple’s and Google’s devices to generate mobile ad revenue.