Facebook has responded to today’s news about its mobile phone plans with a classic non-denial denial.”The story, which originated in Techcrunch, is not accurate,” Facebook rep Jaime Schopflin said in a statement to Mashable. “Facebook is not building a phone.”
Schopflin goes on to talk about what Facebook is working on — integrations into other phones that it’s not manufacturing.
Fine and good. But no one actually thinks Facebook is building an actual phone, or that it’s manufacturing anything.
What people are saying is that Facebook is doing some major work with Android software to make it a Facebook-flavored platform, so Facebook could have much more control over the mobile industry than it does today. This is probably being done entirely inside Facebook, without any help from Google, which is the enemy.
And I don’t see any denial of that in Facebook’s statement — just that the company admitting that Facebook is “integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating systems,” which is the story in the first place.
And Facebook PR obviously isn’t going to announce any new product in a written statement — it’s going to keep this a secret as long as it can. Thus the very specific claim that Facebook is “not building a phone,” which may be accurate, but doesn’t tell the real story.
Here’s Schopflin’s entire statement, via Mashable:
“The story, which originated in Techcrunch, is not accurate. Facebook is not building a phone. Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social. Current projects include include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers. Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and operating systems is a good way to enable this. For an example, check out Connect for iPhone and the integration we have with contact syncing through our iPhone app. Another example is the INQ1 phone with Facebook integration (the first so-called ‘Facebook Phone’). The people mentioned in the story are working on these projects. The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a “Facebook Phone” because that’s such an attractive soundbite, but building phones is just not what we do.”