Over the past couple of months, there have been some rumours doing the rounds about Facebook launching their own mobile phone. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently shot down these rumours, stating that they are not building a whole phone but are instead aiming at supporting an ecosystem that can help apps build on Facebook.

During the company’s earning call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “We will develop new products, particularly in mobile.” This statement came amidst a list of other product and revenue plans, a report by ABC news reads. The report went on to state that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg started to discuss about mobile app products and he said, “We want to support an ecosystem where other apps can build on top of Facebook.” He also addressed the rumours surrounding the Facebook smartphone and said, “There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really taking, that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.”

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However, though it appears that the rumours seem to be have been shot down for now, there is no telling if they can be true and Facebook could, in fact, launch a smartphone of their own by mid of next year.

Reports earlier claimed that Facebook had tied-up with HTC to build a phone that could be launched by the middle of the next year. “These plans haven’t been made public but the phone was intended to be released this year. It appears that HTC is now being given more time on product development; hence the date of launch has been pushed back,” the report reads.

The report went on to add that Facebook was not publicizing the smartphone project; it was codenamed “Buffy”. “Everything is being kept under wraps and it is speculated that Facebook is “going door-to-door to find the right talent for the project”. The news about Project Buffy surfaced last year, when reports came in stating that Facebook was planning to launch a smartphone with social networking at its core, and not merely a handset with a dedicated Facebook button, as found on the HTC ChaCha. Following the acquiring of Instagram, Facebook recently announced the Facebook Camera, which in retrospect, appears to be the brand's attempt at paving the way for a heavily customized camera app for smartphones.”

As of now, there is absolutely no word available on the specifications of this mythical Facebook phone and the only shred of information available regarding it is that it will run on the Android operating system.

The number of users accessing Facebook on their mobile phones and smartphones has surpassed those who access it on their computers. This trend, however, has gained momentum only over the last couple of years, especially since smartphones featuring a dedicated Facebook app came into the picture. These allowed one to easily access the social networking site on-the-go with all the possible features neatly packed into what most would consider a user-friendly app.

Facebook has already made a few attempts to introduce a social networking-friendly handset in the past and tied up with a few companies like HTC to develop and release “Facebook Phones”. Devices like the Android-powered HTC Salsa and HTC ChaCha didn't quite receive as much success as hoped and so it was back to the drawing board.

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