Facebook's Rumored Phone
There is this huge rumor going around about Facebook building a phone. Here is what I know. Nobody really cares about the truth, gossip is juicier.
Facebook has denied making an actual phone, stating instead it wants to develop, “full Connect support with SDKs to deeper integrations with some manufacturers.” But if the rumors are true, then Android would be the target for creating a branded Facebook device.
Okay, Facebook is not building a phone. However, a Facebook branded device on Android is not out of the question.
Part of the Android experience has been custom development of the user interface. HTC’s Sense, Motorola’s Blur, these are the creations of big names who have chosen to recreate the UI on top of Android to better stand out in the crowd.
In Addition, a quick look through the Android Market can lead to other UI replacements, called launchers, like Open Home and ADW, which allow customization above and beyond the stock Android experience.
Facebook does not need to build a phone. Especially if the device would have to stand alone in the smartphone world and join the race to provide a substantial app market. Instead, the ability to skin Android and provide a user experience above and beyond the app is not only possible, but it is part of the full Android experience.
Lets not forget Microsoft has a stake in Facebook as well. All this talk about Facebook having a phone and their response about “deeper integration with some manufacturers” could mean Facebook is making sure Windows 7 Phone provides the ultimate experience for Facebook fanatics. After all, Windows 7 Phone will have several manufactures building these devices.
Even so, Android offers Facebook a greater ability to strengthen its brand through methods beyond just an app. If Facebook develops a launcher type replacement, either independently or in conjunction with a major device manufacturer, Android’s Flash support would allow for Facebook to leverage its brand with its own third party developers. Zynga’s Farmville comes to mind, along with all those other popular Facebook time wasters.
Rumors and gossip prevail. Yet there is probably a nugget of truth behind the hype. Motorola Blur with Facebook, or HTC Sense with Facebook, can be selling points. Just like Google, Facebook makes its money through advertising. An evolution of the mobile app experience is not out of the question, especially if Facebook wants a bigger piece of the pie.
Photo credit: Johan Larsson