Ever since Michael Arrington first broke the news on TechCrunch two years ago, rumors have been flying around the internet about the possibility of a mobile phone developed specifically for Facebook. Of course, following TechCrunch’s announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg immediately denied the news, under the pretense that a phone does not fit into the Facebook strategy, which instead has a horizontal focus – i.e. developing a social layer to be placed on top of existing platforms.
But the rumors gained new life recently, with reports beginning to circulate that Facebook is in the midst of a collaboration with HTC to develop the “Facebook Phone”, supposedly launching in the third quarter of 2012. This latest round of rumblings claim that the phone will run on an Android platform customized exclusively for Facebook, and featuring integration of all of Facebook’s features. The operating system is expected to be reformatted to such an extent as to eliminate at least some, if not all of the Google services that come standard with the Android OS. While some claim this lack of Google features will be a turn off to buyers, others claim that the Facebook brand is strong enough to stand on its own.
This supposed change in Facebook’s strategy is likely due in large part to the vastly changed mobile phone market. While the Apple platform dominated the field just a few short years ago, the market is now more varied and led by Android. Consequently, hardware prices have dropped, and its much easier to break into the market. Moreover, the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet finally gave proof that there are worthy alternatives to Google and Apple services.
Another important factor is HTC’s current place in the mobile market. After working with Google to develop their first branded phone – the Nexus One – HTC was dropped by Google to continue developing the Nexus line in favor of Samsung. HTC’s market share and profits have plummeted following this switch, making them eager to seek out their next big product which could be the Facebook phone.
Of course for now, this is all still just rumors, in the absence of an official announcement from Facebook or HTC, but the promise of a Facebook phone seems a bit brighter now than before.
Guest post by Mary Johnson from Sahipasand.com.