Facebook Smartphone On The Way, Say Sources

Reports from the US are suggesting that Facebook is planning to manufacture its own smartphone by the end of next year.

The New York Times has cited briefings on the proposals from company employees and engineers, who only spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardising their involvement with Facebook.

The company was probed on the matter last week and neither confirmed nor denied the existence of a smartphone project, instead pointing to a statement they had released under similar circumstances last year.

Perhaps indicatively, perhaps benignly, this reads in part, "We're working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers".

The anonymous briefers added fuel to the rumour's flames by claiming Facebook has already hired over half a dozen Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPod.

The smartphone revelation is in keeping with Mark Zuckerberg's recent mobile-oriented outlook, as the company desperately pursues new sources of revenue and growth to stay abreast of its rivals.

A Facebook employee confirmed these fears, saying, "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".

This comes as Opera has confirmed that it is in acquisition talks with an unnamed party, widely believed to be Facebook.