For The First Time, The Man Behind Facebook's Secret Plan To Build An iPhone-Killer Talks About Why It Never Happened

Back in 2010, Facebook vice president Chamath Palihapitiya recruited several of the company’s top developers and business people to work on a secret project, housed in a separate building on Facebook’s campus.

Their mission: to design and manufacture a rival to Apple’s iPhone, a Facebook Phone.

The Facebook Phone as Palihapitiya envisioned it never happened.

Instead, three years later, Facebook launched something last month called “Facebook Home.”

“Home” is an app for Android that turns a smartphone’s lock screen into a slideshow of photos, news stories, and other status updates shared by Facebook friends.

So far, Home is not an obvious hit. More than a week after it launched, it hadn’t reach a million downloads in Google’s app store. When Mark Zuckerberg talked to analysts about Facebook’s first quarter financial results yesterday, he pointedly declined to share numbers on Facebook Home usage.

We had Palihapitiya into BI headquarters earlier this week.

We asked him about Home’s small download numbers, and whether or not Facebook should have pursued his huge vision years ago.

He answered our questions. We think it’s the first time he’s publicly talked about his once very secret project.



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