(NEW YORK) — While many of the major technology companies descended on Las Vegas last week for CES 2013 to announce new hardware and software products, Facebook decided to hold off on its big news until this week.
Tuesday, Jan. 15, Facebook will hold a private press conference at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. “Come and see what we’re building,” reads an invitation sent by Facebook to ABC News last week.
That small line has set off some big speculation about what the social network might show off.
TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reported over the weekend that the event will be mobile focused and could even bring a “Facebook phone” of sorts.
“And so, with that in mind, multiple sources have told us that they expect some sort of Facebook Phone to be on display on Tuesday,” Siegler wrote. “Now for the caveats (and they’re important). It’s not entirely clear if this will be an actual piece of Facebook branded hardware or if they will simply use hardware from a phone maker to show off some sort of new Facebook OS for mobile. That is to say, it could very well be that the ‘Facebook Phone’ is more about a Facebook OS running on a phone (or a few phones).”
ABC News surmized something similar about Facebook’s move into the mobile phone world last week, pointing out that Facebook has announced multiple apps in the last few months and even added voice calls to its Messenger app. Mark Zuckerberg has denied rumors of a Facebook-built phone in the past, saying he would prefer the company to build on current platforms.
But others are thinking it might just have to do more with greater mobile services. “I think what Facebook is about to do is a new kind of discovery engine. Because there is so much data in Facebook,” said Robert Scoble, a social media and app expert. Scoble concluded that Facebook’s new service would have a major mobile tie-in and that Facebook is thinking about how it can better surface and present the data it has collected from its 1 billion users.
In September, Zuckerberg also hinted that Facebook could compete against Google and Microsoft’s search engines. “When you think about it from that perspective, Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have. What sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York in the last six months and ‘Liked’?” he said at TechCrunch Disrupt. “These are questions that you could potentially do at Facebook if we built out this system that you couldn’t do anywhere else. And at some point we’ll do it. We have a team working on search.”
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