Rumors about Facebook Phone are back again, however, this time they might be true. With Facebook holding an event on April 4 at its headquarters, inviting the media to “come see our new home on Android,” the question still remains: Does anyone need a Facebook phone and does it actually make any sense?
In the last one year, the Internet was in a state of confusion with rumors surfacing about the Facebook phone. It was said that the phone will be developed by HTC and running a customized version of Android. This, however, has continued to persist till today. On the other hand, Facebook has constantly been denying about building a phone and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself stated last year that building a whole phone “really wouldn’t make much sense.”
However, even if the company is working on a specialized Facebook phone powered by Android, how different would it be from the rest of the smartphones? Not much. According to 9to5Google’s sources, the phone will look a lot like the iPhone 5, and will feature all of Facebook’s services like photo uploading, messaging, contacts integration, and many more. This is pretty much the same what a non-specialized Facebook phone offers. It makes even less sense for users to buy it.
Why Facebook Needs a Phone?
Facebook is currently focusing more towards mobile, and revenue is the only reason I can think why the company will want to have a phone. The company hasn’t figured out a way to monetize the apps and offer mobile ad units to advertisers. With the new Facebook phone, there’s plenty of room for the company to think of generating revenue.
Business for both Facebook and HTC is pretty much clear with the Facebook phone. Facebook on one side wants to boost up its service usage on mobile, and perhaps it even wants its Messenger service to replace normal phone calls and text messages -more advertising opportunities here. HTC on the other side has completely lost its market share in smartphone.
Why Facebook Users Won’t Need a Facebook Phone?
The answer to that question is very obvious. As stated earlier in this article, the Facebook phone will pretty much offer the same services what a current smartphone offers except that it will be branded as a “Facebook phone.”
If a user has a smartphone, he/she probably has Facebook on it already. Facebook is one of the most-downloaded mobile apps in the entire app market. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can get access to it.
I feel that Facebook is making it hard and is pushing its users to use the social networking site on mobile rather than on a desktop browser. Facebook needs to realize that it is not Twitter where users will frequently put up status updates or post photos on the go.
Today the smartphone market has become saturated. More than 70 percent market share is taken over by Android, and Samsung’s Galaxy phones are selling like hot cakes. The major part of the rest of the market is taken by Apple leaving several other smartphone providers to fight for the third spot. What will HTC and Facebook do about this if they come up with a new phone? I have no idea.
What Must Facebook Do Instead?
What I feel is that Facebook should focus more towards its existing apps. Improvise and optimize them in a better and faster way, and also come up with an idea to monetize them. Alternatively, as many others suggest, a more sensible approach aside from building apps would be to release a custom Android launcher. This will enable users to change the device’s stock home screen and setup a customized home screen.
Facebook could also think of an app store very much like what Amazon has. Not that they should a build a cloned version of Amazon’s app store or Google Play store, but could build something similar. This will enable mobile application developers to build apps on a deeper level that can interact with Facebook.
Nevertheless, if Facebook comes out with a customized Android phone, then they’re very late for the party. With a crowded mobile market, there’s absolutely no chance of survival unless it stands out from the others.
What do you think about Facebook phone? Do share your views with us in the comments below.