Facebook smartphone talk reignited with Apple hires

Murmurs of Facebook smatphone resurface after social networking giant hires handful of former Apple engineers with experience on iPhone and iPad, report says.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Talks that Facebook is readying to launch its own smartphone next year have resurfaced amid reports that the social networking giant has hired several former Apple engineers who had worked on the iPhone and iPad devices.

According to a report Sunday by The New York Times, Facebook had already employed over half a dozen Apple software and hardware engineers with experience on the iPhone, as well as one with experience on the iPad.

Citing unnamed sources who were Facebook employees and others approached by the company's recruiters, the report said the company was planning to unveil its own smartphone by next year.

One engineer revealed CEO Mark Zuckerberg had probed him about complex details into the internal structure of mobile phones, while another said he was told the company was exploring hardware plans.

The New York Times said Facebook, when contacted, neither denied nor confirmed it was working on a smartphone launch, but referred the daily newspaper to a previous company statement when it said it would be "working across the entire mobile industry" including with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers and app developers.

Rumors the social networking company was looking to produce its own mobile phone first emerged in 2010, though Facebook then denied any plans to do so.

Reports also emerged Friday it was looking to acquire Norwegian browser maker, Opera Software, which declined to comment on the potential buyout when contacted by ZDNet Asia.

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