So far the definitions of a FaceBook phone was a blue coloured F button pasted on a HTC Android phone. After a series of FaceBook phone rumors, all we saw were mediocre launched by HTC, the ChaCha and the Salsa. As predicted, they failed to generate any great traction in the market. However, fact remains, Facebook is one of the most used mobile apps (across platforms) and they have been working hard to stay relevant in the mobile age.
We are now hearing new rumors of a FaceBook phone to be made by HTC. Bloomberg is reporting (without naming Android) that the phone would run a modified OS, thus suggesting that Facebook would want to have the entire phone to its name instead of just a quick share FB button in there. Google’s Android is open source thus allowing 3rd parties to work on the code, design and customize it for their needs. Amazon did that pretty neatly with the Kindle Fire and they backed up their efforts with an App Store that they built.
So why can’t Facebook do the same? A hardware built by HTC, customized Android OS which gives the phone a FaceBook identity and millions of users hooked on to Facebook games for hours together? The question FaceBook needs to consider is, do people want a Facebook phone or a phone with good FaceBook capabilities?
This mockup by Phandroid is enticing.
If Facebook has to really make a phone, it has to be this kind of an effort. A self designed hardware, Facebook hardware and software and some secret sauce apps for user engagement. And considering that they do it by mid-2013, we still do not expect it to be an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy slayer. It can be a popular phone though.