If Facebook is indeed making a phone, I am pretty sure it will not be a ‘Facebook’ phone in the sense that they will just slap a boat load of the social network on a piece of hardware.
If they are not absolutely dumb ( and I believe they aren’t ), it will be a good phone first, and the social network part will be secondary. It’s not necessary that they push the social network everywhere. It will have deep integration with the network, though. If Facebook wants to be a big tech company that is worth 100 billion dollars, they have to diversify. Like Google has. Look at Android OS. It’s not powered by ads. ( that’s what some people with linear thinking had predicted. Heck, people actually think that Google glasses will have ads! )
Making good hardware is not difficult for Facebook either, They can easily hook up with HTC ( or any other manufacturer ) to get them awesome hardware to run their platform on.
It will also require good design. And looking at what Facebook has been aquiring / hiring / aqui-hiring, that also can’t be a problem. They have scooped up a bunch of cool startups ( including Instagram! ) and, designers from Apple.
The point being, Facebook has the resources to make the phone not suck. Will it be a commercial success? Well, that’s a right question to ask.
Despite so many OSes already in the market, it’s still a nascent market, and bringing a new OS, although difficult, is not downright impossible. If they do end up delivering a good UX, people will switch. I mean, look at the market. Apart from iOS, which has a stronghold with the people that can afford it, what else do we have.
Android – Is it good? Yes. Will I switch if something that offers a better user experience comes along? right away.
Windows Phone – How is the user experience like? Awesome. Do they have traction? Not really.
BTW, there is also a possibility that they are not making a new OS, they might be working with Microsoft, or, maybe, even tinkering with Android. Who knows? Maybe they aren’t even making a phone, they are just developing apps for other platforms that just work.
According to reports, they are building upon Android, adding HTML5 capabilities to it, and adding social to its core. Which is a smart move, as this means that it will still run apps from the Android market place. One of the major reasons for the Windows phone not gaining traction is the lack of a large enough market place. Android apps + HTML5 FB apps = more choice. Choice wins.
The Facebook phone could also be more cloud centric, maybe bundled with the Spotify app and a data connection.
Note – This article is pure speculation. Speculation is one of the favorite pass times of tech writers.
Photo Credit – BGR