Is Facebook (FB) Preparing to Disrupt the Smartphone Market?

A modular smartphone release could be in Facebook’s immediate future.

Facebook FB smartphone

While Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) as a company has built a vast fortune off of its social media website and related online services, the company has also ventured into other fields, including the rumoured game distribution platform that will compete with Steam. Hardware is also one of the areas that the tech giant is investing in, with the Oculus Rift project being one of its most high profile acquisitions. New movements in the tech world however, indicate that Facebook will also enter the smart phone arena very soon.

One of the hardware developments this year that made a huge splash in the mobile computing realm was Google’s Project Ara. The phone was shaping up to be a truly modular device, allowing users to snap together smartphone parts of choice. This should have resulted in a phone that would have been best suited to the individual’s usage preferences. However, for reasons that remain unclear, the project was put on hold indefinitely with virtually no indication as to when it will resume.  Well now it seems that the project might indeed resume in some shape or form, but in Facebook’s fold instead of Google’s.

Reports suggest that Rafa Camargo, Richard Wooldridge, and Blaise Bertrand, the three people behind Project Ara, are working together again at Facebook’s Building 8. They are joined by highly experienced big names in the tech industry, coming from companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Motorola, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and other leading companies in the tech hardware space.

Facebook’s secretive Building 8 division’s function was described by company CEO Mark Zuckerberg as one that will focus on “augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity and other important areas”. Recent job posts and hires from the social network giant however, suggests that phone experts are being hired for the Building 8 division instead of those that have been working on AR, VR or AI tech. There are even specific job posts that are looking for individuals with experience on mobile antennas, camera technology, mobile processors and even thermal design. These are integral aspects of a phone development process.

It is highly likely then that the company is now focused on releasing a smartphone related device, one that may have concepts very similar to Project Ara’s modular design.

The idea for a Facebook phone can indeed be very exciting. If there is one company that can go head to head with leaders in this industry like Apple, Google, Samsung and the like, it is Facebook. This, thanks in no small part to the huge amount of resources that Menlo Park has on tap.

Also, it would also be very interesting to see what new and unique features a Facebook smartphone can bring to the mobile Facebook usage experience. Considering how fast things move forward in the tech world, it should be safe to say that in 1 to 3 years’ time, we will see what type of hardware Facebook has to offer.

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