Facebook Preps an iPhone Rival (Report)

Its name? Buffy

So is Facebook creating its own phone?

Prominent tech website AllThingsD has been running a series on Facebook’s plans for a phone, formerly named “Slayer” but now named “Buffy.”

Get it? Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

According to D, even though Facebook started working on a phone a year and a half ago, its debut still may be 12 to 18 months away.

Facebook initially tried to build it from within, creating a “mobile special ops team” to work in a building separate from the rest of the company.

Then Facebook realized just how much was involved in creating a phone – the money, the time, the politics and so forth – and shifted gears.

Now the site is partnering with Taiwanese cellphone maker HTC to build a smartphone with Facebook fully integrated into the core of the phone.

This is what a Facebook spokesperson had to say:

"We don’t comment on rumor and speculation. Our mobile strategy is simple: we think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social. We're working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world."

If these reports are correct, we’re not talking a mobile-optimized site or an app, but a Facebook-centric phone.

The social networking site has hundreds of millions of mobile uses – around 350 million if you want to nitpick – but do those consumers like Facebook enough to buy a phone for it?

ESPN tried this and failed. Facebook, using its own take on Android, has to hope for a better result.