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Facebook to release smartphone in 2013 - report

Device said to be codenamed 'Buffy'

Social networking behemoth Facebook is planning to muscle in on the mobile market by releasing its own smartphone.

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That's according to The New York Times, which was told by Facebook employees and a number of engineers that the firm plans to launch a smartphone in 2013.

Speaking under conditions of anonymity, the employees said Facebook has recruited a number of former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone and iPad, and that last year it entered into a partnership with HTC to create a mobile device codenamed Buffy.

"Mark is worried that if he doesn't create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms," an unnamed Facebook employee said.

Given the current strength of social and mobile games, a Facebook smartphone could have significant implications for the games market. Last month John Schappert, former chief operating officer of EA and VP of Xbox Live, said social and mobile games are eating away at the traditional games business model.

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