Facebook wants its own mobile operating system, so hardware like its Oculus VR headsets won't be bound by the limitations of Android. As reported by The Information, Facebook wants its own platform to prevent other companies from throwing their plans off course, whether built internally or in partnership with another developer.
“We really want to make sure the next generation has room for us,” said Andrew Bosworth, Facebook vice president of hardware, Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth. “We don't think we can rely on the market or competitors to make sure that is the case. And then we will do it ourselves. "
The company told TechCrunch that it is particularly interested in developing augmented reality glasses and is exploring all options to make it a possibility on its own terms.
This is not the first time Facebook has thought of creating its own operating system. In 2013, one of the company's senior developers revealed that he had considered developing an operating system for Facebook Home – a project that replaced the usual home screen of his phone with something based on social features.
Facebook considered building an operating system from scratch or creating an Android fork before settling on an interface layer on top of Android and simply changing its regular interface. The application received negative reviews and was abandoned a few months after its release.
“The operating system path was the least detailed,” said director of mobile engineering Cory Ondrejka.
“Mark (Zuckerberg) said on launch day that he wanted to create something for everyone. It's hard to get to the kind of scale needed for us (when building an operating system). We wanted Home in front of hundreds of millions – even a successful operating system would only give this experience to some of them. ”
However, now that Facebook has extended its reach beyond phones to other hardware, it makes sense to revisit the idea.
Facebook has no plans to finish developing its iOS and Android apps, but it will be interesting to see where this new project leads and whether its new direction is more successful than Facebook Home.