Unbeknownst to many, Facebook actually has established a new division called Building 8, and this team happens to have Rafa Camargo, Richard Wooldridge, and Blaise Bertrand among its ranks. If you are not familiar with this trio, they used to work for Project Ara, the initiative began by Google that aimed to find an effective way of building modular smartphones with interchangeable components. After Google indefinitely postponed that project, Facebook wisely sought these three men, and on top of that, assembled a team consisting of some of the best minds in mobile and tech, many of whom worked for tech giants such as Apple, Motorola, Amazon, and Tesla, just to name a few.
So is the biggest social media platform in the planet secretly building its own smartphone offering? Nobody knows for sure, and some get the feeling that Facebook wants it that way -- well at least for now. If the company is indeed working on a mobile device, it would mean that Facebook now really wants to be more than just a social media empire.
This is not unprecedented for Facebook, of course. Some may remember that about three years ago, Facebook joined forces with HTC. The resulting product was a flop -- just a few weeks after it had launched, Facebook was forced to offer it at only $0.99 just to attract buyers. But instead of getting discouraged, the company is more willing than ever to test the waters when it comes to mobile.
So now we come to Building 8. Interestingly, back in April earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Facebook, hinted in a post that the division was established to pursue advances in virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and connectivity. But since the division’s recent hires all seem to be connected to mobile technology, one can not help but think that Building 8 may be more focused on building hardware such as smartphones and other mobile devices.
But before we get too excited, it is worth noting that other tech giants have initiated secret projects before, only to see those initiatives never translating to fully commercialized results. One example is the Project Titan program by Apple, which aimed to create a self driving vehicle for consumers. But so far, this program has not borne any fruit. As for Facebook, it has gotten so big that it can practically afford to do anything now. If it is indeed serious about building its own smartphone, well why not, right?
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