But Amsellem's view is in the minority, with four analysts on Tuesday dismissing the Facephone idea. Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, said Facebook would be starting off well behind Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard in building a smartphone, noting that the latter two basically failed.
"Facebook appears to be trying to emulate Google much like Google tried to emulate Apple," Enderle said. "A copy of a copy likely won't end up well, given how powerful both of the primary iOS and Android platforms are."
Enderle added: "We have a young company, Facebook, flush with cash, led by a young, inexperienced CEO, who treats this cash as if it were something he won in a game show. So I expect this to end badly."
Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, added that the smartphone market is already "hugely crowded." A Facebook phone would offer little that's new to phone users or to mobile operators interested in finding new ways to raise data usage revenues. "Is anybody really turned on by having a Facebook phone?" he asked.
Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, added that instead of creating a smartphone, Facebook executives need to "get themselves ready to compete with Amazon, Apple, Google and others as an ecosystem before they start making phones ... It would be best to continue on with partnerships and being device agnostic"
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.