Facebook 'working with INQ Mobile to develop phone'
Facebook is understood to be working with the mobile phone manufacturer, INQ Mobile, to create a branded smartphone to be carried on the US network, AT&T, according to reports.
According to Bloomberg, which cites “people familiar with matter” as its source, the devices will be launched in Europe during the first half of 2011 and in the US in the second half of the year.
Facebook has repeatedly denied that it plans to launch its own mobile phone, saying: “Facebook is not building a phone. Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating systems is a good way to enable this.”
However, a UK poll conducted this week by discount website, MyVoucherCodes, found that almost a quarter of Britons would purchase a Facebook-branded phone.
Of the 1,485 people surveyed 24pc said they would probably purchase a ‘Facebook phone’.
Almost a third said they expected the device to be better than Apple’s iPhone, while more than three-quarters said that a “face recognition” feature, capable of instantly recognising people in a Facebook photo and automatically “tagging” friends, would be an “exciting prospect”.
However, 69pc of those who said they wouldn’t buy a Facebook phone said they were worried about their privacy, with 43pc believing Facebook would have access to phone numbers and other personal details stored on the phone.
AT&T, the second largest US mobile network, which still holds the exclusive rights to carry the iPhone, is yet to sign a deal with Facebook, but is considering doing so, according to Bloomberg.
INQ Mobile has worked with Facebook before, selling phones with Facebook features. The company declined to comment.