Facebook Phone Denied (UPDATED): Social Networking Giant Says No Plans For Its Own Smartphone

A TechCrunch post published Sunday set off speculation that Facebook is working on a phone--or more specifically, mobile phone software.

"Facebook is [...] building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware," TechCrunch wrote. "Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system."

Although Facebook quickly denied that it was "building a phone," calling TechCrunch's story "not accurate," CNET wrote Sunday that it had "confirmed that the social-networking giant has reached out to hardware manufacturers and carriers seeking input on a potential Facebook-branded phone."

Facebook told Mashable in a statement, "The bottom line is that whenever we work on a deep integration, people want to call it a 'Facebook Phone' because that's such an attractive soundbite, but building phones is just not what we do."

But are they to be believed?

According to CNET,

Facebook appears to be splitting hairs over the phrase "building a phone" because the reality is that the company this summer did seek input from hardware manufacturers and carriers as it kicks the tires on whether a Facebook phone indeed makes sense. The idea is simple: an outside company such as Samsung or HTC would build the hardware for an Android-powered phone that would have Facebook's social-networking features deeply integrated and would run on a carrier such as AT&T, possibly under an exclusive deal similar to the iPhone.

Business Insider cites a "plugged-in Silicon Valley source" as saying that Facebook's software is "for sure" using Google's Android OS. The site also points out that Facebook recently snagged former-Googler Erick Tseng, who was Senior Product Manager of Android at Google before joining the social networking site.

Do you think the rumors of a "Facebook phone" are true? What do you think we'll see? Weigh in below.