The Story So Far‚Ä¶.
There is a new rumor flying around that Facebook is working to create a phone. Not much is known aside from the news that the company is building the software for the phone, while seeking a third party to build the hardware for the phone.
We understand that all of this could be written in water, but keep in mind that it’s not impossible. The same thing happened when rumors came about of Google working on a phone. A few months later we were introduced to the Nexus One.
Facebook was quick to issue a statement denying the allegations, and said, “Facebook is not building a phone.”
Their wording was odd given that they simply said, “Facebook is not building a phone,” because we know that they don’t necessarily have to build the phone to release it.
However, three different media outlets have backed the rumor, and it doesn’t seem like Facebook can work their way around the word that they may in fact be looking to launch a Facebook-branded phone.
Reasons That It Could Happen
Based on what little we do know, and what we can expect after we’ve seen several other smartphones hit the market, we can make some guesses as to what we may see. Again, we don’t know what’s coming for sure, we can only guess or talk about what makes sense in such a device.
1) The Phone Could Use a Custom version of Android – Because Android is open-source, it’s available for grabbing and tweaking into something that suits a manufacturer’s needs. It’s already been reported that Facebook is looking to use Android as a basis for their phone. This makes sense, and we don’t see why Facebook wouldn’t want to launch a phone with a strong Facebook branding and integration. It could serve to further popularize their social network.
2) Close Integration with Contacts – Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world right now, they can easily integrate its use into their phone. This could eliminate the need for them to use the Facebook app within the device and just have it run as part of your system. We’ve already reported on the Vonage app that lets you make free VOIP calls to Facebook contacts. If such capabilities were made part of a phone, it would allow for even more interaction with your Facebook contacts. We are sure they aren’t opposed to more people using Facebook at more times during their day.
3) Close Integration with Facebook Functions – This is another no-brainer. Imagine just paging over to your Facebook news feed rather than having to launch the App. You can easily Like, Share or Read. Taking photos with the built-in camera would give you the option to automatically upload pictures to Facebook. We are even interested in possibilities, such that theme park in Israel that let users wear bracelets with RFID microchips to “Like” something quickly and easily. Combined with technology such similar to Microsoft’s Tag, and the possibilities are abundant. From a Facebook standpoint, this can work to put their name out in the real world rather than just the online world. Businesses wouldn’t mind it either. If you could go to your favorite burger joint and snap a shot of a tag that automatically shares the place with your Facebook friends it would further tie Facebook to outside day-to-day activities.
4) Designing the Hardware would be a Non-Issue – As we mentioned, there was also plenty of skepticism surrounding a Google phone, but that ended up happening. Remember that Google designed the Nexus and decided on the features. But let’s look at what we have: a social networking giant worth billions, and plenty of users who make Facebook a part of their everyday rituals.
5) Finding a carrier is also a non-issue – If they can present the right kind of hardware, they would have a line of carriers waiting to come aboard. If they market the device as an Android phone with powerful Facebook branding and seamless integration, they have the potential to sell. There is no doubt that Facebook’s huge userbase could help get a phone like this one off the ground.
We have nothing but rumors and speculation to go by. Still, a Facebook-branded phone makes sense. The name recognition could help it sell, and the marketing opportunities are huge. Facebook users may be ready to get the phone and it would probably only cause them to use the service more than they already do. Convenience for Facebook users, more use for Facebook…everybody wins.