Facebook has reportedly hired more than half a dozen former Apple engineers as part of renewed efforts to build an own-brand smartphone. According to a recent report from The New York Times, the hires are comprised of former hardware and software engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one engineer who worked on the iPad. Why the renewed interest in a Facebook phone? “Mark is worried that if he doesn’t create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms,” an anonymous Facebook employee reportedly told the Times. Rumors of the “Facebook phone” resurfaced last month after the rumor mill had been silent on the matter for some time. The previous round of rumors suggesting Facebook was working with HTC on an own-brand phone were off base; HTC ended up launching a pair of low-end smartphones with dedicated Facebook sharing buttons rather than a Facebook-branded device. It may have been for the best, however — a study conducted earlier this year found that most consumers wouldn’t be interested in a smartphone offering from Facebook.
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