Facebook hasn’t been “just” a social media company for quite a while now and after investing in a wide range of industries ranging from gaming to virtual reality, facial recognition, and apps, the Menlo Park-based company is now also allegedly dabbling in – modular smartphones. Facebook isn’t a complete stranger to making phones as the company collaborated with HTC to release the infamous HTC First back in 2013. That device wasn’t exactly showered with praise and the firm reportedly gave up on making branded phones last year but recent reports from the US suggest its stance towards smartphones may be changing once again.
Namely, sources claim that the social media giant has recently completed the acquisition of Nascent Objects, a Californian startup that’s manufacturing computers, cameras, and other consumer electronics using contemporary techniques such as 3D printing. Since being established in 2014, Nascent Objects presented numerous prototype of modular consumer electronics though none of it have yet made it to the market. Certain sources from the industry claim that Facebook is considering investing in modular phones because that’s one of the few areas where its fierce competitor Google has failed. For the uninitiated, a report from earlier this months suggested Google is on the verge of cancelling the project despite not completely giving up on the idea of creating a modular smartphone. Interestingly enough, Dr. Regina E. Dugan who was one of the key people involved in Project Ara left Google for Facebook in April. Coincidentally, that’s around the time the higher-ups at Google unofficially decided to cut their losses with Ara.
Back to Nascent Objects, sources claim that the Californian startup will work on Facebook’s so-called Building 8 Project which is headed by—you’ve guessed it—Dr. Regina E. Dugan. Not much is now about this research and development initiative funded by the social media giant but given the fact that Nascent Objects’ founder Baback Elmieh also has a background in Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group just like Dugan, it won’t be surprising if the two end up reconnecting. Several days ago, Dugan revealed that one of the goals of the Building 8 Project is to design and manufacture hardware at software-like speeds. Back in April, she stated that she couldn’t be happier about joining Facebook because the company gave her the opportunity to do what she loves the most – “tech that is infused with a sense of our humanity”.