We have heard plenty of rumors that Facebook is working on its own smartphone before today, but once again we are being told that the social network is indeed set to join the mobile platform fray, but this time there may be a tablet thrown in for good measure.
The latest round of rumors come courtesy of the New York Times, who report that Mark Zuckerberg and his band of merry men are on the lookout for people to help make its new smartphones and tablet, with ex-Apple employees apparently topping the recruitment list.
The story goes that Facebook has already recruited more than a dozen ex-Apple employees who were part of both the iPhone and iPad teams in Cupertino. With Facebook smartphone rumors being relatively old news, new information coming out of the NYT suggesting ex-iPad workers are involved may point towards a tablet coming out of the firm, too.
There are a couple of Facebook phones of sorts already in the market, with previous rumors turning out to be wide of the mark, and the handsets actually being one of HTC’s creations rather than one branded by Facebook. The Salsa and Status arrived last year, though both ran Google’s Android and simply tied into Facebook rather than using the social network as its underpinnings.
The move to bring former Apple people into Facebook does not take much working out, with Zuckerberg apparently keen to take the iPhone and iPad knowledge that they posses and move it into the Facebook world. Facebook’s 900-million strong user base makes for a potentially huge install base for a smartphone, and that fact will not have escaped both Zuckerberg and the money men behind him. With a less than successful IPO in the company’s recent past, anything that can help to generate money will be very much embraced.
One engineer who formerly worked at Apple and worked on the iPhone said he met with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, who then peppered him with questions about the inner workings of smartphones.
If Facebook does decide to enter the smartphone market, Google’s Android would quite probably be the software that is hidden beneath the Facebook spit and polish. With Microsoft struggling to help Windows Phone 7 gain a foothold, and Android taking the lion’s share of the non-iOS smartphone market, Facebook is entering a world that it is already extremely hard to live in.
But then, Mark Zuckerberg does have the midas touch. So long as IPOs are not involved!