Like a "deleted" Facebook account, rumors of a Facebook phone - or "FacePhone" - persist.

The latest guess regarding the social giant's supposed efforts to create their own official Facebook smartphone comes from Paul Amsellem, managing director of mobile marketing company Mobile Network Group.

Amsellem claims that Facebook could purchase Nokia, whose profits have been dropping, for $10 billion, and use the manufacturer's existing expertise and partnerships to create the FacePhone within 18 months.

Specifically, Nokia's relationship with Microsoft would allow them to easily create a Facebook-branded Windows Phone.

"They need to do it," Amsellem said.

But Recon Analytics' mobile analyst Roger Entner told TechRadar that purchasing Nokia would be an "over-the-top" move for Facebook.

"You don't need to buy, you know, the world's second-largest handset manufacturer to build a cell phone," he said. "It's like you're trying to get to your house, from here to there, so you buy an airline."

He said that Nokia's problems are concentrated outside their core Lumia line of Windows Phone smartphones, which have actually been selling fairly well in the U.S.

Could a Facebook phone be successful?

Facebook's recent IPO has disappointed many investors, even prompting some to sue the social networking company over allegations of preferential treatment.

An official FacePhone might be just what the company needs to stimulate revenue.

Purchasing or even partnering with Nokia (which Entner said is much more likely) "would certainly spur a better integration with Windows Phone," he said.

"The problem is that Window Phone's market share is still very modest. So it doesn't really make that much of an impact."

Entner said that although Facebook is the most popular smartphone app, he doubts there would be much consumer interest in an official Facebook phone.

"I think for some Facebook aficionados, sure," he said. "For the mass appeal? I don't think so."

"I don't think there's anything to that rumor," he added. "I'm happily on the record saying that this is a half-assed idea from some imbecile."

A Nokia purchase isn't the only rumor

Other rumors have pointed toward HTC taking a stab at the Facebook phone (and calling it "Buffy"), and further back, Motorola was also said to be working on a FacePhone.

More recently, Facebook was rumored this week to be hiring former Apple hardware engineers to design a phone internally.

Entner thinks this is the most likely of the Facebook phone theories. "I think we all know that Facebook has an internal program to develop its own mobile device," he said.

Whether the public will ever see that device - and what their reaction will be when they do - is uncertain.

Via Computer World