Facebook Phone Rumors Just Won't Die
A report Sunday saying that Facebook is making a phone was quickly denied and called "not accurate" by Facebook itself. But even more evidence is mounting that the Facebook phone rumors might be, at least, partially true.
The original report on TechCrunch, has been corroborated by other publications, including Business Insider and Bloomberg. The main problem is that none of the publications can agree on the story.
TechCrunch originally reported that Facebook was designing its own operating system that would be put on third-party hardware. Then Business Insider said the Facebook phone would simply be an Android phone with deeply integrated Facebook features. Now Bloomberg reports that three separate sources have confirmed Facebook is actually making two touchscreen Facebook phones through third-party manufacturer INQ Mobile, one with a QWETRY keyboard and one without, which will run on AT&T in late 2011. Bloomberg's sources say the phones will be less than $100 after subsidies.
So what of Facebook's fierce denial?
Many people in the tech industry have pointed out that Facebook's official denouncement of the rumor is worded vaguely enough that it could actually mean there is a Facebook phone but the company isn't ready to acknowledge it yet. For instance, instead of calling TechCrunch's story false, Facebook simply called it "not accurate," implying the story wasn't completely wrong.
To make matters even more inconclusive, Facebook followed up by giving TechCrunch an exclusive interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in which Zuckerberg never flat out denied the company was working on a phone. Instead he emphasized that the company was not making its own operating system or hardware (options that two rumors have already covered), but instead was focusing on more Facebook integration in the phone market. Several experts point to this as evidence that a Facebook-branded phone is still in the works, just not being explicitly designed by Facebook. That would fit well with the Bloomberg report of a third-party hardware manufacturer.
So the bottom line is that, while not officially real, the Facebook phone is not officially fake either.