The problem is, Facebook has been working on a phone for at least a year, and All Things D reports it will be at least another year -- and perhaps 18 months -- before the Facebook phone, codenamed "Buffy" after TV's erstwhile vampire slayer, is built. That's a long time in any technological realm.
In the battle for mobile supremacy, it's an eternity.
It seems like Facebook doesn't really have its act together, phone-wise.
The company put a bunch of elite technologists in a separate building
to work on the thing -- unusual for the egalitarian company. "To have a
secret team operating out of a separate building drew a lot of interest
and also jealousy from other employees," All Things D reported. "But, as
often happens in ambitious efforts like this, the project quickly
spiraled out of Facebook's expertise and into budgets that were
impossible without an IPO or perhaps a billion-dollar fundraising."
Ultimately, the company decided to build something based on Android.
Several team members left the company and Facebook started working on
what is now being called Buffy. Reportedly, the Taiwanese cellphone
maker HTC will manufacture the phones, and Facebook will support HTML 5
for building apps.
Of course, as with everything Facebook does, the question of privacy is
already being raised. Facebook isn't commenting on Buffy, but a
spokesperson told All Things D that the mobile experience is better when
it's "deeply social." That comports with what CEO Mark Zuckerberg has
said several times about Facebook wanting everything everyone does
online to be shared with friends -- in some cases, whether they like it
or not. It's why your news feed is filled with tidbits about what songs
your friends are listening to, and it's why that obnoxious ticker on the right side of the page is constantly being updated with your friend's every last move.
What might the ticker look like once Facebook becomes a phone provider?
It's hard to say, but maybe it will look something like this:
Bill Jones commented on Jesus Garcia's status.
John Smith ordered a pizza.
Mary Johnson likes Wing Lei's link.
Fran Miller spoke with her divorce attorney.
Gladys Spooner posted a photo.
Glen White called 1-900-HOTT-ASS
Dan Mitchell has written for Fortune, the New York Times, Slate, Wired, National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, and many others.
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