Facephone? Facebook will launch smartphone next year

Facebook will unveil a phone made by the company next year, the New York Times reports. The smartphone is seen as a move by Facebook to compete head-on with Google, which just bought Motorola Mobility for just over $12.5 billion and is expected to build a phone of its own.

Google has, of course, a major advantage over Facebook already: it builds the Android operating system that has become a major competitor to Apple’s IOS.

Citing anonymous sources, the NYT says about the Facebook phone:

The company has already hired more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPad, the employees and those briefed on the plans said.

The rumours of Facebook’s intentions to build a smartphone are gaining momentum. According to Reuters, the company could be getting ready to pay as much as $1 billion for Opera Software, a company listed in Oslo which is “coveted for its advanced mobile phone software technology.”

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