Facebook plots two smartphones
Facebook is working with handset firm INQ Mobile on two new smartphones, wire service Bloomberg has reported.
The devices will run on Android and will be introduced in the UK and Europe in 1H11 and the US in 2H, Bloomberg said, quoting three people close to the matter.
Facebook admitted it has collaborated with UK-based INQ for the past two years to develop a “deeply integrated Facebook experience on their devices,” in a statement mailed to Bloomberg, but said it couldn’t comment on future developments.
INQ focuses solely on providing mobile access to social networking and has sold a number of devices running Facebook apps.
Earlier this week Silicon Valley blog Tech Crunch said Facebook was working on its own device. Facebook denied it, but said it was working on “deeper integrations” with some device firms.
AT&T, the second largest US mobile operator and the largest WCDMA player, was still weighing whether to offer the phone, Bloomberg said.
Facebook has more than 500 million users, of whom roughly 25% access the social networking site through a mobile device. The Facebook app is the most downloaded app from Apple’s App Store and the second most popular Android app, according to Nielsen.
INQ, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, is connected to Facebook through a small stake Hutchison chairman Li Kashing - Asia’s richest man – holds in the US company.