Facebook phone? Not so fast, company representatives say.
Despite widespread rumors Wednesday fueled by a report that HTC would unveil two Facebook-branded mobile phones at next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the social network said Thursday that it has no plans to launch official branded phones with the Taiwanese smartphone maker.
"This is really just another example of a manufacturer who has taken our public APIs (application programing interfaces) and integrated them into their device in an interesting way," said Dan Rose, head of business development at Facebook.
And that's a fairly realistic portrait of what a "Facebook phone" will be, suggested Sascha Segan, lead mobile analyst for PCMag.com.
"I don't believe Facebook is throwing the full weight of their brand behind one particular phone. There will be many Facebook phones," he told FoxNews.com.
The company agrees with Segan's characterization. “We’re working across the entire mobile industry with operators, hardware manufactures and app developers to bring Facebook to mobile phones in a variety of unique and exciting ways," a Facebook spokeswoman told FoxNews.com.
"Some of these include deep integrations of Facebook within the device, but are not 'a Facebook phone' as they sometimes are referred to by commenters."
However, at some point soon many companies will start promoting how effectively their phones access the Facebook service, Segan believes. "Facebook wants to be considered a core part of the Internet, to the point where every phone has to be a Facebook phone -- people won't want to buy one that isn't."
An HTC spokesman refused to confirm or deny reports that it was working on a Facebook-branded or -themed phone, telling FoxNews.com "no comment." But Facebook's Rose had no such qualms about quashing the talk.
"The rumors around there being something more to this HTC device are overblown," Rose told journalists at a company event in London. Asked whether the device would be Facebook-branded, he answered: "No."
Segan agreed that the talk of one specific branded model was overblown, telling FoxNews.com that "I don't think Facebook is interested in promoting specific devices." That said, many companies will tout heavy integration, he suggested, pointing out that INQ, a company popular in Europe, has reportedly been working on just such a device.
Rumors of a potential branded phone from the social-network king have been bounced around the Internet for months. In late September, sources tipped off Techcrunch editor Michael Arrington to the possibility that the social networking giant might be working on a legitimate piece of hardware themed around its massive community-driven service.
A report from CNET added weight to the rumor, stating that hardware manufacturers confirmed that the social-networking company had reached out to them. But even back then, a spokesman for Facebook immediately denied the rumors.
"The story is not accurate. Facebook is not building a phone," Jaime Schopflin said at the time.
Mobile is an increasingly important driver of traffic to Facebook, which says 250 million users per month access the social network on mobile devices.
Reuters contributed to this report.