Rumours surfaced around November 2011 about “Buffy,” this was apparently the code-name for the Android-powered “Facebook phone.” At the time a spokesman for Facebook said they were not making a phone and their “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.” The device ended up being a partnership with HTC that brought on a dedicated Facebook button to a couple entry-level Android devices.
Fast forward to as recent as yesterday, rumours were once again swirling that the so-called “Facebook phone” was a reality and that we could expect to see it mid-2013. Of course, Facebook declined to comment on the rumour, but during today’s Q2 2012 earning call CEO Mark Zuckerberg swatted down the idea that they are building a “customized smartphone” with HTC, stating “building out a whole phone really wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.”
So it looks like Facebook isn’t building the hardware, but we might see them come out with additional software experiences that are heavily integrated into their app. Over the past few months they’ve purchased a number of high profile companies, namely Instagram, Karma, Spool and Lightbox. In addition, Facebook has also beefed up their talent and hired various software engineers who’ve worked on iOS and webOS.