Previously we reported that Facebook is preparing to launch its own smartphone, knowing there is not much more room for profit growth within its current business form. Pressure from investors after the anticipated stock launch was another reminder of that. Until now, we have seen no device of this kind, but that might change very soon.
According to Bloomberg “sources with knowledge of the matter” are stating that Facebook is planning to release a smartphone next year. More interestingly, they are working with HTC to build it. The report states that the device was supposed to launch this year, which would always have been a stretch. But now the timeline has been pushed back quite substantially so that HTC have more time to work on it.
The phone will most likely run a version of Android, but not one that any of us would recognize. It would be heavily modified, like we see on the Amazon Kindle Fire. The obvious advantage of such a smartphone is that it will be heavily integrated with all possible Facebook features people use regularly.
According to statistics, over 400 million Facebook users access the site from their mobile device, but not a single dollar of the $3.5 billion in advertising that the company generated came from ads on mobile devices. That seems a massive user base, not yet tapped into. Does this mean that these mobile devices will be bombarded with annoying ads day in and day out? Probably not, but it will be interesting to see how Facebook utilize this new tool at its disposal.
Previously there was speculation that Samsung would have the honours of making Facebook’s device, since most other Android manufacturers are struggling to stay ahead of the curve at this stage. But despite HTC’s financial troubles in the last couple of years, they would be an obvious choice for Facebook. The groundwork was already laid when they worked together on the HTC Cha Cha which had its own dedicated Facebook button which was used to share photos, music and the like.
We still have our doubt about the launch of this device. The biggest doubt would obviously be a concern around demand for such a device, whether certain users’ lives revolve around Facebook SO heavily that they would need a specialised device like this. Where will the other apps come from? It won’t come from the Google Play Store, just like on the Kindle Fire. Does Facebook have enough resources to build their own market? That remains to be seen. Whether or not this device is successful rests solely on American shoulders, we would think.