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Facebook to Enter Mobile Phone Market in 2011

Bloomberg reported today that social networking site Facebook is planning on entering the mobile phone market as early as 2011.

The devices, which will feature Facebook social-networking services, are due to be introduced in Europe in the first half of 2011 and the U.S. in the second half, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans havent been made public.

Facebook is said to be working with mobile-handset manufacturer INQ Mobile Ltd. to produce the hardware for the device. The new phone is said to be based on a "stripped-down version" of Google's Android operating system with Facebook integration.

Despite being based on Android, a Facebook phone would be competition for Google as much as it is for Apple. Google benefits from ad revenue tied to their search and other services which would likely be supplanted by Facebook services on a Facebook-based phone.