Rumours of a Facebook branded mobile phone have resurfaced this week following the recent news that a new handset called the INQ Cloud Touch has been certified by Bluetooth.
Last September, rumours that Facebook was making its own mobile phone were fueled by posts on TechCrunch and Bloomberg. Both reported on tips from anonymous sources that Facebook had started making their own mobile phone. Facebook was supposedly manufacturing the required software, and the hardware was to be made by another manufacturer.
The continued growth and popularity that mobile social networking and Facebook in particular were enjoying made it seem logical that Facebook would try to integrate their apps into mobile phones. Since this was only possible if they had control over the operating system, it was believed that they would want to make their own handsets.
The rumours had even pinpointed two employees – Joe Hewitt and Matthew Papakipos – who were supposed to be secretly working on the project.
Facebook was reported to be in talks with INQ Mobile to build the phone and AT&T was believed to be the chosen carrier, although nothing was finalised. The social network was supposedly considering the development of 2 handset models, one with a full QWERTY keyboard and the other with just a touch screen. The p hones were expected to be very reasonably priced.
These rumours were then laid to rest when a Facebook spokesperson clarified to Mashable that they were only interested in making mobile apps more social and not in building phones.
Now, the rumours have started afresh ever since a description of INQ’s new mobile phone surfaced. The description of the new phone was obtained via the Blutooth certification that was recently awarded to the device.
The new INQ phone is supposed to be an “Android smartphone built to make messaging faster and smarter”. It’s designed around the way people naturally communicate and has Facebook built into its core. The homescreen features multiple entry points to different Facebook functions, while a dynamic widget displays a feed of status updates, albums, videos and photos.
While a lot of the speculation leads one to believe that the original rumours were probably true, only a handful of people are in a position to verify the truth. Facebook did deny the rumours at the early stage. Though, that could be because it was probably too premature to admit to anything back in October. Whether Facebook denies this new set of rumours or not might give a better indication of the truth.