Cloud Computing: Facebook's Social Smartphone Plans: 10 Intriguing Clues
Facebooks Social Smartphone Plans: 10 Intriguing Clues
by Clint Boulton
Google, Apple Are Driving the Mobile Web
??ÃWe begin with the premise of why Facebook might need a phone. Currently, Google and Apple are duking it out in the mobile marketplace thanks to their smartphone operating systems and associated devices. The rivals are gulping mobile users, putting ads in front of them. As a free Web service, Facebook also must make money from ads.??Ã
Facebook Cruising in Minutes Logged
Facebook surpassed Google in minutes logged online for August, but only 100 million of the social network's 500 million-plus worldwide users access the Website from their mobile phones. That's only 20 percent of its addressable market share. A dedicated device could bring more existing users to the mobile network for Facebook. And Facebook could construct ads that appear to users in the course of social connections such as invites and coupons to meet out at restaurants or mini-golf and the like.
Facebook Phone Is Based on Android
While the point of the Facebook Phone would be to attract more users from the Web services of Google and Apple, Facebook is, ironically enough, said to be leveraging Android for the device.
Facebook Has a Googler
Lending credence, or another log to the fire that Facebook is building mobile phone software is the fact that Facebook lured Erick Tseng away from Google earlier this year. Tseng was a senior product manager of Android. Zuckerberg would tell TechCrunch "Erick is really the lead PM for mobile stuff in general. I'm sure there are specific things in there that aren't announced yet. But he's not running a secret project."
CNET noted that Facebook may be splitting hairs when it claimed it is not building a phone, asserting that the company "did seek input from hardware manufacturers and carriers as it kicks the tires on whether a Facebook phone indeed makes sense." HTC, a major Android phone maker, would build an Android-powered phone that would have Facebook's social networking functionality deeply integrated.
A Facebook Phone in AT&Ts Future?
Bloomberg advanced the story Sept. 23 by noting that INQ Mobile is actually building such a phone, and that Facebook and INQ are campaigning to get AT&T to carry it. The plot thickens.
IPhone vs. Facebook Phone
AT&T, of course, is the sole provider of Apple's iPhone, setting the stage for some interesting competition between Apple and Facebook if AT&T does in fact carry an INQ Facebook phone.
Weve Seen This Movie Before
If this sounds familiar it's because INQ already sells the INQ1 Facebook phone, or tries to. INQ declined to provide stats on the INQ1, pictured here, for eWEEK. Smartphone analysts told eWEEK the device has not caught on.
Facebook and HTML5
Facebook sees HTML5 as the next great lingua franca. In his interview with TechCrunch, Zuckerberg referenced HTML5 several times, noting: "The mobile market is just so fragmented that there is a lot of experimentation that can happen now too ... For some devices that we're not going to do a lot of specific work for, it will be HTML5."
What a Facebook Phone Should Be
Forget building a mobile OS or deeper integrations with phone vendors. Facebook should build a VOIP (Voice over IP)service a la Google Voice or Skype to allow users to make voice calls to one another from their Facebook accounts.