Facebook may build a branded smartphone

Facebook denied a story published this weekend that says the company is "building a mobile phone." But evidence shows that it is considering one.

Facebook denied a story published this weekend that says the company is "building a mobile phone", but CNET News has confirmed that the social-networking giant has reached out to hardware manufacturers and carriers seeking input on a potential Facebook-branded phone.

TechCrunch published a story saying: "Facebook is building a mobile phone... or rather, they're building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware". Facebook quickly tried to discredit the story, with a spokesman telling CNET News that "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, Facebook appears to be splitting hairs over the phrase "building a phone" because the company did seek input this summer from hardware manufacturers and carriers as it decides whether a Facebook phone indeed makes sense. The idea is simple: an outside company such as Samsung or HTC would build the hardware for an Android-powered phone that would have Facebook's social-networking features deeply integrated and would run on a carrier such as AT&T in the US, possibly under an exclusive deal similar to the iPhone.

For more on this story, read see Facebook mulling a branded smartphone on CNET News.