This week, the tech blogs across the internet have been discussing a rumor that Facebook is working on developing its own smartphone that is intended to go toe to toe with the immensely successful Apple iPhone and the dozens of variations of Android phones. Facebook is supposably partnering with HTC to design the phone with a highly customized operating system based on Android that features the social network heavily integrated.
Facebook has already attempted on integrating the social network into smartphones with designated Facebook buttons. However, their past efforts have not yielded any success beyond learning what not to do through trial and error. It has been speculated that the Facebook phone will launch within the next 12 to 18 months.
While some may be wondering the exact date of it’s release, for me, this rumor ultimately begs another question: is there room and a want in the marketplace for a phone dedicated to Facebook?
Personally, I can’t find the reasoning for Facebook to go through such an extensive and expensive process to develop its own phone. For one, what would this phone be able to do that the Facebook respective apps for iPhones, Android, and Windows 7 Phones not be able to do? Surely, if the phone is ever released, it and all apps for other smart phones will be able to browse friends, upload photos, write on walls – or, the new timelines – and much more.
Some have speculated that the reasoning behind Facebook’s own smartphone is its current inability to collect in-app payments with its present-day smartphone partners. If it had its own phone to collect in-app payments, it would then be assumed that games available on the Facebook website would be developed into a mobile version specifically for the phone.
However, if the phone ran its own customized version of Android, this may mean that other Android Market apps may not work on the device. This would certainly be a drawback from Facebook’s phone.
Perhaps, in the end, Facebook’s reasoning behind creating its own smartphone may be purely defensive. Apple has made Twitter its partner when it introduced Twitter integration in iOS5. Additionally, Google+ will obviously be promoted throughout Android and Google devices. Rather than partnering with another in the future, Facebook may see itself as its own best partner.
So, if the goal for Facebook is just to make money rather than serving its users with something great and new, there doesn’t seem to be a real need for the device. I really can’t imagine that people would give up refined smartphones like their iPhone or certain Android phones for a phone dedicated solely to Facebook.
About the author: August Drilling, works for Forte Promotions which sells promotional products, loves social media, works in the marketing field, and is a graduate from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.