Is Facebook Launching its Own Smartphone?

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is likely to introduce its own smartphone next year, and has been recruiting several engineers with experience working on the iPhone and other smartphones, according to unnamed sources cited by The New York Times.

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The thrust into hardware is probably driven by concerns that Facebook has been unable to monetize its growing mobile audience. A Facebook employee said Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the company, was “worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future… Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms.”

Actually, Facebook has recently launched its own app store catering to mobile users, though presently it just links out to apps that are Facebook-enabled in Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) app stores.

Facebook’s major revenue-generating advertising stream could be threatened if more and more users log into the site through their mobile devices, as so far mobile advertising has been more difficult to sell.

To a query by the BBC regarding Facebook’s smartphone plans, a spokeswoman replied that it was not customary for the company to comment on speculation.

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