Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on today’s investor call that building a phone “wouldn’t really make much sense for us to do,” addressing rumors that the company was working on its own mobile device.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Facebook was working with HTC to build a smartphone for release next year, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” The article suggested Facebook is developing a modified operating system for the device.
The social network responded with the following statement:
“Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world.”
Zuckerberg echoed this on the earnings call today, saying the goal is to “be as deeply integrated as possible” in mobile experiences and noting how the company worked with Apple to become part of the upcoming iOS 6. He said Facebook is working to increase depth of experience on mobile devices and build an ecosystem that other apps can build on top of.
Many have speculated over the years whether Facebook is working on its own device, possibly offering its own mobile operating system as a modified version of Android. Based on Zuckerberg’s comments today, it’s unclear how things will turn out, but it’s worth noting that HTC and Facebook collaborated last year on the HTC “ChaCha,” an Android-based phone with a dedicated Facebook button to share music, photos and messages. The company could continue this strategy and partner with a number manufacturers and mobile providers rather than limiting Facebook to its own device and system.[Update 7/27/12 12:42 p.m. PT - The full quote from Zuckerberg, according to VentureBeat:
“We want to not just have apps that people use, but also be as deeply integrated into these systems as possible. We want to support a development ecosystem where other apps can build on top of Facebook, so that’s why you’ll see us do things like support Apple in the iOS integration that they wanted to do. There are lots of things that you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which I think wouldn’t really make much sense for us to do. So I do think that there’s a big opportunity for us here.”]