Facebook Swipe ex-Apple’s For “Buffy” Phone?

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Are Facebook about the build their own phone…for real?

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Facebook insiders say so.

Mark Zuckerberg’s network is said to have recruited “more than half a dozen” ex Apple employees – including several who worked on iPhone and iPad, reports The New York Times.

There has been whispers of the social networking giant releasing its very own smartphone last year with HTC – known as ‘Buffy’ – but now it seems fresh rumours of a Facebook built phone are resurfacing.

Read: Buffy, The Facebook iPhone Slayer?

And it seems Buffy (previously tipped to run a run a “modified” version of Android) is now being expanded with ‘Zucks’ and Co looking to headhunt the best and most ‘seasoned’ engineers to come up with the magic formula for new Facebook smartphone to compete with iPhone, and Androids from the likes of Samsung, Sony and HTC.

“Mark is worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms,” a Facebook insider said.

The release of a Facebook phone would make complete sense for The Social Network, since over 425 million users access Facebook from a mobile device every month – around 45% of users. And considering it already has a platform complete with friends, photos and personal information familiar with mobile consumers the world over.

Mobile technology has often been identified as Facebook’s major weakness, as its current mobile app – which is uniform across all platforms, Android, iOS and BlackBerry – is only a basic version of its website and does not contain nearly as many of its bells and whistles.

This comes as The Social Network released a dedicated Camera app for iPhone on Friday, allowing images be taken, edited and uploaded immediately to the network and also recently purchased mobile gift giver app Karma, just last week, and photo app Instagram for a massive $1 bn recently.

And the Times are also flagging a possible purchase of ailing smartphone giant BlackBerry or even mobile partner HTC for a newly enriched Facebook, who coined $16bn at its somewhat disaster-like (well, for investors anyway) IPO, last week.

 

The Social Network could “drop a beautifully designed Facebook operating system on top of RIM’s phones. HTC, which is upset with Google for buying Motorola, is worth about $11.8 billion and becoming cheaper by the day,” the Times report declared.

HTC previously released Facebook dedicated phones – Salsa and ChaCha – which were largly a flop, leaving many uncertain of the demand for another similar device.

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