Facebook Kills Phone Rumors, But Bigger Things to Come?

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REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Facebook has denied rumors that it is in the early stages of developing its own telephone. But the company’s statement could be a window into Facebook’s dream of taking over the world. (Techland breaks down the possibilities)

When TechCrunch broke the news that the social media website was secretly planning its first phone, the website hedged with the following comment: “Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware.”

Indeed, Facebook quickly countered, quashing the concept of the Facebook phone; in a statement issued to Mashable, Facebook said, “Our approach has always been to make phones and apps more social. Current projects include include everything from an HTML5 version of the site to apps on major platforms to full Connect support with SDKs [Software Development Kits] to deeper integrations with some manufacturers.”

As Mashable goes on to note, the HTML5 version of the site is long overdue so as to suit mobile devices that don’t make use of Flash (see: iPad). But the second statement seems to fly in the face of Facebook’s earlier pledge to phase out Facebook Connect in place of its Open Graph.

What this all means, only time can tell. But, as a lengthy profile in the The New Yorker points out, Facebook is undoubtedly aiming high. “[Facebook founder Mark] Zuckerberg imagines Facebook as, eventually, a layer underneath almost every electronic device,” the story notes.

The phone rumors might only be wrong because they underestimate Facebook’s aims. In the statement to Mashable, the company said: “The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a ‘Facebook Phone’ because that’s such an attractive soundbite, but building phones is just not what we do.”

Keeping Zuckerberg’s lofty ambitions in mind, one can’t help but wonder the guru’s current thinking on the lessons of hubris and humility from the Classics, the subject that was “Zuck’s” high school major. (He later dropped out of college.)