Is the world ready for a Facebook smartphone?

Blogs were on fire this week over the possibility that the leading social-networking site, with 500 million members strong and counting, might roll out its own phone. Despite halfhearted denials From Facebook, a Bloomberg report named INQ Mobile as the handset maker and claimed there will be an overseas launch during the first half of next year, followed by a stateside rollout through AT&T (NYSE: T) during the latter half of 2011.

Whether we're talking about a Facebook-branded phone or just another Android device that's more Facebook-centric than the others, the device would face some stiff competition. The smartphone market has been tough to crack if you're not Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM), or one of the plethora of companies putting out phones built on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android.

On the other hand, Facebook is the undisputed champ of social media. If anyone can make a smartphone go viral, it's probably Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Let's just hope this phone, if it does materialize, doesn't have the connectivity problems that Facebook itself had this week.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • The head of eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY) marketplace division stepped down this week, citing personal family reasons. Investors probably wouldn't mind a "Buy It Now" button that would offer some stability at the company.
  • As if those annoying Bing commercials aren't enough, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is making a more direct investment in its nascent search engine. The software giant is rolling out Bing Rewards, a loyalty program that rewards frequent Bing users.
  • Joe's Jeans (Nasdaq: JOEZ) opened its 16th store, this time in an outlet mall in Philadelphia. Joe's sells premium denim, so it's odd that all but three of its retail stores are located in outlet malls.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He owns shares of Joe's Jeans and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.