" />

The Facebook Phone – great for Facebook but do we really care?

The Facebook Phone – great for Facebook but do we really care?

‘Our New Home on Android’ proclaimed the invite sent to journalists the world over, as Facebook prepares for its next big product launch. While the internet is full of rumours about what a new Facebook Phone could be, many commentators have been questioning the usefulness of such a device.

The rumour has been one of the longest and most intriguing of the recent technology past (in fact, it was the first story we covered on this site, back in 2010), with suggestions from insiders being that Taiwanese manufacturer HTC would be working on the Facebook branded phone, running a modified Android OS (Similar to that on Amazon devices).

Facebook has attempted limited ‘branded phone’ releases before, in connection with networks and HTC previously (Vodafone Ireland tried something like this not too long ago). However, these have never sold particularly well and suffered a distinct lack of features compared to the marketplace. A Facebook-centric phone would have some benefits for the company itself (everything from PR to device revenue) but this would be terrible for the consumer and ultimately is short-sighted of Facebook in any long term strategy.

Perhaps one of the most significant reasons a Facebook phone might not work is that the key to any success in the current marketplace is innovation; each year manufacturers are forced to be more and more innovative to increase their market share. Facebook’s lack of hardware production leaves it at a significant disadvantage when sending a handset into the market, not only are they left in the hands of HTC, who after releasing a new flagship, are more than likely not going to attempt to outsell themselves, but it also means that they will be slower to compete with established names.

Another problem for Zuckerberg is one of consumer choice. By creating a heavily branded ‘walled-garden’ the social network overestimates its loyalty, people love Facebook but they also love choice. The ability to use different apps and have multi-feature phones is what drives the marketplace, any Facebook phone would go back on that and make a user environment which relies entirely on a single service. Facebook may be the world’s most popular social network, but many smartphone users use Twitter and a host of Google services, which are already tied into their day-to-day lives. So, it’s likely that Facebook won’t play nicely with these. Historically, we’ve seen that the walled garden approach just doesn’t work.

The success or failure of the Facebook phone is also one of usefulness. What does a Facebook phone offer, that the other handsets on the market can’t? Google, Apple and Windows work hard at their operating systems, while manufacturers constantly try to compete for features in a marketplace which is increasingly competitive. It’s difficult to see what Facebook can do better that their app on other handsets can’t.

Facebook may be the world’s largest social network, which gives it reason to be confident. But faith is not ultimate and users are already wary of its encroachment into personal details in the name of profit. Facebook should stick to what it’s good at, improve those services and increase its web foothold, not try to get in on Apple and Google’s game; they’re simply too good at it.

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


As an Account Manager and Social Media Manager with Ireland's largest social media agency Ciaran Treacy worked for some of the world's top brands Vodafone, Nokia, News International, Ebookers, Chevrolet, and UNICEF. As well as regularly blogging about media and technology on his own site Ciaran is also an Online Marketing Executive with The Doyle Collection.

More in Mobile

Chatbots, mobile, phone, marketing

The way to your customers’ wallets is through their mobile phones

Zac LavalSeptember 18, 2017
iphone x

iPhone X facial recognition is another example of why Apple is essential to hardware market: opinion

Ben AllenSeptember 16, 2017
mobile world congress

America’s first Mobile World Congress: what to expect in San Francisco

Omar ElorfalySeptember 12, 2017
action sports technology

Action sports are continuing to take tech in their own direction

Ben AllenAugust 30, 2017
holiday planning apps

Best apps to simplify your next holiday

Nicolas WaddellAugust 23, 2017

United For Iran launches app to protect Iranian children from sexual abuse

Sam Brake GuiaAugust 21, 2017
endangered species animojis

Animal welfare groups enlist animojis to spread endangered species awareness

Nicolas WaddellAugust 18, 2017
smartphone doctor hospital tech

Are smartphones the future of medicine?

Daniel SanchezAugust 15, 2017
From Dating to Sexting: The Stats Behind Technology’s Effect on Love Life

From dating to sexting: the stats behind technology’s effect on love life

Ben AllenAugust 11, 2017