Is Facebook set to launch its first smartphone?

The tech world is agog with rumours that Facebook is going to announce its first smartphone, likely made by HTC, next Tuesday (January 15).

The California-based company has invited journalists to its Menlo Park HQ “to see what we’re building.” Which could mean anything of course.

Other suggestions include advertising or ecommerce products. But Facebook has recently poached a number of engineers from Apple which makes a phone, or maybe a tablet computer, the most likely.

With over a billion users globally Facebook can launch pretty much anything it likes with a fair degree of success. But mobile has proved a difficult area for the company so far and its own smartphone, with Facebook embedded within it, offers a way of surmounting such problems.

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