Rumour: Facebook developing a smartphone

The rumour has spread that Facebook is quietly building a smartphone of its very own, designed to offer complete integration with the company's social networking services.

The claim surfaced over on TechCrunch, which quoted "a source who has knowledge of the project" as confirming that Facebook is developing the software for a smartphone in-house while partnering with an unnamed OEM to produce the hardware.

In this respect, Facebook would be taking a leaf out of Google's book, which partnered with T-Mobile and HTC to produce its first Android-based smartphone before dropping the carrier out of the equation and going to HTC directly to make the own-brand Nexus One.

Facebook has roundly denied Arrington's claims. Speaking to Mashable, Facebook's Jaime Schopflin stated that "the story... is not accurate. Facebook is not building a phone."

Schopflin went on to say that the company's current projects "include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers."

This last piece offers a clue as to the direction Facebook could be taking - while it has claimed that it won't be making a device itself as "building phones is just not what we do," a device with deep Facebook integration from a major handset OEM could be as much of a Facebook-phone as the T-Mobile G1 was a Google-phone.

Arrington is standing by his claims, stating that the comments from Facebook don't represent an outright denial, but for now it looks like we'll have to file this one under 'rumour.'