Zuckerberg promises surprises

PETER MITCHELL
Last updated 14:18 15/01/2013
Facebook

SMART MOVE: A mystery event has rumours flying that Facebook is about to launch its own smartphone.

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Are you ready for the Facebook smartphone?

You are? Sorry, you might be disappointed.

It might not be on the way. Then again, it might be.

Confused?

You are not the only one, with everyone from Wall Street traders to the social networking site's more than one billion users speculating what Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his boffins inside the company's ultra-secretive Silicon Valley headquarters are up to.

Zuckerberg and his crew set speculation alight last week when, in a Steve Jobs/Apple-style marketing move, sent out a simple invitation to select media stating: "Come and see what we're building."

The answer will be revealed a little after 3am Wednesday (New Zealand time), at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco.

Queries to Facebook's affairs communications officers in Australia and the US seeking details about the event were met with silence.

That has left every technology analyst and writer across the planet speculating about what kind of rabbit Zuckerberg will pull out of his hat (or hoodie).

"It might just be a product launch, but we are treating it like a rocket launch," the Los Angeles Times crowed.

The sexiest offering would be a Facebook-branded smartphone, but most analysts have tossed a bucket of cold water on this one.

Others are tipping Facebook will announce a search engine to take on Google.

Some are taking the invitation literally, predicting Facebook has invited the media up to take a tour of a new engineering building designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry.

One thing is certain.

The speculation has helped Facebook's share price, which dipped to below US$18 in September, but in 2013 the stock has jumped above US$30 and closed on Nasdaq at US$30.95 on Monday, although still well off its US$38 initial public offering price.

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- AAP

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