Rumors surrounding Facebook secretly building a smartphone have been going on around since 2010. Now for the first time, a report from the Patent Bolt blog claims that Facebook is working on developing a device that would stand out from other products.
The Patent File was originally submitted in 2001 by Lead Facebook Engineer Matthew Papakipos and Matthew Cahill, who now works at Quip. The smartphone features a touchscreen, with touchpad on the side that would respond to gesture recognition library.
In an alternative image, the touchpad are on the rear of the device with clickable button the sides instead.
In the patent filed way back in 2011, Facebook described the device as a ‘smartphone with a curved surface’. Filed originally under the name of ‘Mobile Device with Concave-Shaped Back Side’, Facebook demonstrated via images how users would be able to use it describing the concavely-shaped back side as a protector of touch surface from accidental activations and abrasions.
In another patent, under the name of ‘Content Scrolling and Transitioning Using Touchpad Input’ Facebook described how the sides could be used to scroll the content on the display screen. Under the name of ‘Navigating Applications Using Side-Mounted Touchpad’ Facebook give explanation that ‘A user taps or strikes lightly on touchpad, and a gesture recognition library can interpret the user’s touch input and identify the touch input corresponding to a tap event’.
A flow diagram in the patent application file, goes on to describing how a series of taps could be utilized to access photos, friends or Facebook news feed content. It isn’t mentioned whether the patents will only control Facebook options.
According to an internal source that is a part of the development team, Facebook will be building the software to support the device, while a third party will be building the hardware.
In 2013, Facebook launched Facebook Home app, for Android devices. When ask whether the company is working on a smartphone, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said ““We’re a community of a billion-plus people, and the best-selling phones — apart from the iPhone — can sell 10, 20 million. If we did build a phone, we’d only reach 1 or 2 percent of our users. That doesn’t do anything awesome for us,” denying several claims.