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Facebook to launch its own smartphones?

The idea isn't entirely new, but a fresh report suggests Facebook is looking to develop its own line of smartphones.

According to several sources who spoke anonymously to the New York Times, the social networking giant is hoping to release a handset by next year. 

Facebook has been previously linked with HTC, a popular cellphone manufacturer, to create a "Facebook phone" codenamed Buffy. So far, nothing has come from that partnership. 

But this new report, however, claims that Facebook is hiring the best minds it can to build its own phone. This includes hardware and software engineers who had a hand in the iPhone, as well as one who was behind the iPad. 

While there are no formal job postings for these gigs (talent is being scouted rather than solicited), several signs point to a major push for a Facebook phone. They already have the ecosystem - the social platform itself, along with apps. 

It's possible that this is Facebook's mobile strategy, a seemingly disorganized plan I lamented about last week. Why else would Facebook buy Instagram for $1 billion?

Heck, Mark Zuckerberg and co. could probably buy a smartphone company with all the money they raised from going public. But if an app was worth $1 billion to them, any beleaguered company looking for a lifeline (ie. RIM) might expect a little more cash.

It's tough to see a Facebook phone making a dent on Apple and Android, but executed right, Facebook could succeed in mobile.

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.