Facebook, INQ building smartphones: report

Robert Clark
Daily News

Facebook is working with handset firm INQ Mobile on two new smartphones, wire service Bloomberg has reported.

The devices will run on Android and would be introduced in Europe in the first half of 2011 and the US in the second half, Bloomberg said, saying it had spoken to three people close to the matter.

Facebook declined to comment, but said it had been working with INQ, a UK-based firm focusing on social networking over mobile. The company has sold a number of devices optimized for Facebook and other social apps.

Facebook said in an email to Bloomberg: “We’ve been working with INQ for a couple of years now to help them build a deeply integrated Facebook experience on their devices., California-based. “While we can’t speak for their future product development plans, we can say that our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social.”

In an interview with Silicon Valley blogTech Crunch Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was “not to build any specific device or integration… we’re not trying to compete with Apple or the Droid or any other hardware manufacturer.”

He said the company had held “exploratory conversations” around its own branded device with a number of manufacturers. “But none of them have gotten to that level of detail.”

He added: “Our strategy is very horizontal. We’re trying to build a social layer for everything. Basically we’re trying to make it so that every app everywhere can be social whether it’s on the web, or mobile, or other devices. So inherently our whole approach has to be a breadth-first approach rather than a depth-first one.”

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