Report: Facebook hiring former Apple engineers, hoping to release smartphone by next year

According to a new report from The New York Times, Facebook is working on a smartphone that they hope to release by next year. According to the report by the New York Times, Facebook is serious about this phone, especially now that it is a public company with revenues and profits to worry about. The company has gone ahead and hired over half a dozen former Apple employees (both software and hardware engineers) that worked on the iPhone. In addition to the iPhone engineers, the company has also hired a former employee that worked on the iPad.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of Facebook working on a smartphone of its own. We first heard of Facebook working on a smartphone last year from All Things Digital. Codenamed Buffy, the Facebook phone would offer deep Facebook integration. Back in April, Digitimes re-energized the Facebook Phone rumors when they, too, reported that Facebook and HTC were working together on a smartphone.

Although the HTC Chacha and Status have been released, 2 phones with dedicated Facebook buttons, this new Facebook phone being worked on would be Facebook’s third attempt at creating a smartphone that they could call theirs.

Although Facebook recently opened up its own App Center, it’s likely that they will be following the footsteps of Amazon and modifying Android to fit their needs.

It’s extremely important for Facebook to monetize the mobile space, especially now that they’re a publicly traded company. With many of its 900+ million users accessing the site via mobile, they need to find multiple ways to monetize that segment. Launching a smartphone dedicated to the service is definitely one way to go about doing that.

With a little over 6 months left until it’s rumored to be available to the public, we’re sure that we’re going to be hearing more stories about the Facebook phone as time inches closer to a launch date. We’ll make sure to bring you all the latest news as it becomes available.

Source: New York Times | via The Verge