A Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) patent indicates that the company has probably been working on a smartphone, possibly since 2011 or even before that. Citing a patent filed in 2011, a report from the Patent Bolt  blog claims that the social networking company is clearly working on distinct feature for its hardware to position it differently from other products.

Facebook

Distinctive features in Facebook’s smartphone

The patent reveals that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s phone would be much like those of other big brands with a display touchscreen, but unlike any other phone on the market, it has touch pads on the sides. Instead of buttons for volume control and other options, Facebook has mounted the touch pad on the side and back of the phone. It strengthens the possibility that a user will be able to interact with the phone’s front screen by tapping fingers on the side or back of the smartphone.

Also reported by Patent Bolt is a “gesture recognition library” feature, which would recognize finger movements on the touch pads, allowing users to perform unique functions by flicking down, up or sideways.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) patent was originally filed by Matthew Papakipos, a lead engineer at Facebook and Matthew Cahill, who is now with Quip. Series of other patent were also filed by the largest social networking company in the past for smartphones with idiosyncratic features and interactions.

Other patents filed previously

Back in 2011, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) filed a patent that described a smartphone with a curved surface. The patent was filed with the name of “Mobile Device with Concave-Shaped Back Side.” In it, Facebook explained various ways users could use the phone, and said that the “concavely-shaped back side may protect the touch surface from accidental activations and abrasions.”

Another patent cited was one called “Content Scrolling and Transitioning Using Touchpad Input,” in which Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) showed how the side of the phone could be used to scroll the content on the display screen. Only last year, the company launched Facebook Home, Android software for Facebook apps. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to be in denial over questions that the company is working on a smartphone, saying it is not the right strategy.

“We’re a community of a billion-plus people, and the best-selling phones — apart from the iPhone — can sell 10, 20 million. If we did build a phone, we’d only reach 1 or 2 percent of our users. That doesn’t do anything awesome for us,” Mr. Zuckerberg said last year.