Rumors are swirling that Facebook is working on mobile phone to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Android OS-based devices. For its part, Facebook has said that it won’t be launching a device. It has basically done and said all that it can to either throw reporters off the scent of any phone development plans or to make it clear that a device isn’t coming from the burgeoning social network.
But that won’t stop the world from speculating. Over the past few days, Facebook users have been wondering what a device from the social network would look like, how it would work and, perhaps most importantly, which operating system it would eventually run. The questions won’t stop.
However, a Facebook phone, if it ever does hit store shelves, would fail miserably. Facebook is a social network. Trying to parlay its success in that space to the smartphone market seems like a forlorn hope, to say the least. Here’s why a Facebook phone would fail.
1. Microsoft tried and failed
If Facebook were to release a smartphone, the device would undoubtedly focus on social networking. The problem is, that was already tried by Microsoft. The company’s Kin line of devices attempted to bridge the gap between the social world and mobile hardware. The line failed miserably. And in the process, it became clear that a social phone just doesn’t make much sense to the vast majority of mobile customers.
2. Social networking can only go so far
Moreover, social networking can only be useful to a point. An increasing number of people might be going to Facebook each day, and the site currently attracts 500 million active users, but there is a point when those folks will want to get away from the social network. They currently like having the option to go there when they want to. A Facebook phone could change all that. And it’s unlikely that users would like it.
3. The iPhone is still a force
All this talk of Android OS seems to make some believe that Apple’s iPhone isn’t as important as it once was. Such an assumption is faulty. It’s hard to overlook the fact that Apple’s device is an extremely popular product. A Facebook phone wouldn’t be able to attract that much attention. And it’s highly unlikely that, when compared with the iPhone, consumers would opt for Facebook’s alternative.
4. Social networks don’t get phones
What makes anyone think that a social network has the ability to attract mobile customers? There is little debating that Facebook has been able to strike a chord with Web users around the world. And it has made it abundantly clear that it knows what they want. But the social space is much different from the mobile market. And it’s highly unlikely that Facebook, a company that operates in the social realm, could even come close to matching Google’s or Apple’s success in the mobile space.
Facebook Phone Would Only Clutter Mobile Market
5. How would Facebook focus?
Facebook might be huge, and the company is finally generating some sizable revenue, but for now, it needs to focus its efforts online. If it ever decided to release a mobile phone, some might wonder how the company would be able to handle two very different divisions. If that happened, it’s highly likely that both divisions would suffer. For now, Facebook needs to focus on its efforts on social networks-nothing else.
6. A Google phone didn’t work
An online firm moving into the mobile market with a smartphone wouldn’t be all that unique. In fact, Google released its Nexus One in an attempt to take on Apple’s iPhone in that space. Earlier this year, the search giant announced that it was discontinuing the sale of its smartphone. If Google couldn’t succeed in the mobile market, what makes anyone think Facebook would be different?
7. It’s not what Facebook does
Facebook is a social network. It would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) for the company to transition into a mobile company. As mentioned, the social-networking market and the mobile space are vastly different. And to think that Facebook could enjoy success in both markets seems ludicrous. Simply put, mobile phones aren’t Facebook’s specialty, and they never will be.
8. Few companies can be all things
Google is one of the few companies in the technology industry that can be all things to all customers. Apple is another one of those firms. But Facebook isn’t. The company is still trying to succeed in the social space. It took about 10 years for Google to finally break into the mobile market. And that was only after it had cemented its position online. Facebook hasn’t. Until it does, the social network simply can’t be everything to everyone.
9. The mobile app works just fine
There is nothing wrong with Facebook’s mobile app. It’s highly likely that by providing that program on so many different mobile solutions, the company stands to gain more from that simple piece of software than any mobile hardware it puts out. Facebook already has a mobile presence. It shouldn’t waste its time with a mobile phone.
10. Market confusion doesn’t help anyone
If Facebook does, in fact, release a mobile phone, the company will undoubtedly confuse the market. Some will wonder why they should opt for its phone over its mobile application. The result would be general confusion that could wreak havoc on the social network’s mobile strategy. Facebook would get in over its head with a mobile phone. It could come back to haunt it. Simply put, a mobile phone would do more harm than good for Facebook.