September 20, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
If TechCrunch CEO Michael Arrington’s sources are to be trusted, Facebook is secretly building a phone that would deeply integrate the social network and its services with the growing mobile market. If Business Insider writer Dan Frommer’s sources are to trusted, Android is “for sure” the underlying OS for that phone.
There’s only one problem; Facebook says you shouldn’t trust those sources.
Arrington originally reported that Facebook is working on a mobile phone spearheaded by developers Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos. Frommer soon followed with his report that, much to the chagrin of Google, Android would serve as the foundation for the mobile OS that would rise out of Facebook’s desire to be more competitive with Google and Apple and indispensible from smartphone users’ daily lives.
A Facebook spokesperson shot down both notions in a response to Mashable writer Lauren Indvik. Here is spokesperson Jaime Schopflin’s direct statement:
“The story, which originated in TechCrunch, is not accurate. Facebook is not building a phone. Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social. Current projects include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers. Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating systems is a good way to enable this. For an example, check out Connect for iPhone and the integration we have with contact syncing through our iPhone app. Another example is the INQ1 phone with Facebook integration (the first so-called ‘Facebook Phone’). The people mentioned in the story are working on these projects. The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a ‘Facebook Phone’ because that’s such an attractive soundbite, but building phones is just not what we do.”
Who should you believe? Facebook flatly denies the reports, but it’s worth noting that Google also claimed it would not make a phone prior to the release of the Nexus One, another rumor that Arrington supported last year. Arrington stands by his reporting and it has been given further support through Frommer’s own story.
This could very well prove to be just another false rumor or eventually develop into yet another Android-based operating system splintering the smartphone market. Would anyone care to guess which side will prove accurate?