Facebook phone out 'by next year,' ex-Apple engineers sign on

New York Times reckons Facebook will have another crack at smarthpone market

Facebook could have a smartphone on the market by next year, according to the New York Times. The paper quotes a Facebook employee who says CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scared of becoming just an app

Reports this weekend suggest that Facebook is, once again, keen on launching its own-branded smartphone, with the company said to be on a recruitment drive to bring in the top engineering talent.

The New York Times says the social network has hired six hardware and software specialists with iPhone experience with the aim to get a smartphone to market by next year.

The report points out that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is keenly involved with interviewing candidates for the project, codenamed Buffy, with sources claiming the billionaire Harvard drop-out is worried that Facebook could become "just another app."

“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 employee said of the top secret project.

If the reports are true, it wouldn't be the first time the social network has sought more than a foothold in the mobile market. It is still thought to be working on a Facebook phone with HTC, while INQ has launched handsets with deep Facebook integration in the last couple of years. However, according to the NYT, this device will be built in house.

The company is under pressure to find new revenue streams following its contentious IPO and is keen to broaden beyond its Facebook.com and mobile apps roots, according to the report.

Via: New York Times