Facebook is once again gearing up to build its own smartphone, and it could be here by next year. The company has hired several engineers from the iPhone and iPad teams for its third foray into the project, insiders tell the New York Times. Facebook's first attempt to build a phone fell through, but a partnership formed last year with HTC to build a phone is ongoing; it's one of several avenues the social network is pursuing.
As one Facebook employee explains, Mark Zuckerberg "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," thus missing out on a big shot at new revenue for the now-public company. Indeed, at a meeting with a former iPhone engineer, Zuck was asking all kinds of highly detailed questions, the engineer says. For now, however, the project is very much a secret. Industry experts' expectations are low for a Facebook phone, notes TechCrunch: With the company working outside its field of expertise, "it’ll be a miracle if this doesn’t suck." Click through for more on the Facebook phone. (Read more Facebook stories.)