Wednesday07 December 2022

The Facephone could be a reality on April 4th

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It looks like the rumors of the death of the “Facephone” could have been exaggerated. According to some interesting rumors flying around the internet, Facebook might release their own branded version of Android on HTC hardware. This means that the potential for a Facebook banded phone is more likely than many (including us). Interestingly enough we did catch this potential in an article we wrote last year in May. We had spoken with Paul Amsellem, CEO of Mobile Network Group about the possibility of a Facephone and he had indicated that if this were to be a reality we would need to see a real product (OS or Phone) in 12-18 months. That article was published on May 30 2012. This seems to be a very unusual coincidence.

According to the rumors at “TechCrunch” Facebook will show off their new OS to the press next week. What makes things more interesting is that they will be using the partner that we thought to be the most likely suspect back in May 2012; HTC. At the time we took the opportunity to dive into the usual suspects and found that HTC would be fair potential partner, but there were some issues that needed to be resolved first. When we considered them we noted that HTC and Apple were still embroiled with multiple patent lawsuits. Facebook would not want to deal with those as they are a fairly big Apple partner as well. The fact that HTC and Apple have settled their differences removes this as a barrier (although it does raise the question about potential Facebook involvement in that process). In fact not too long before HTC and Apple came to their agreement we heard rumors of a joint Facebook/HTC project.

What is interesting about this happening now is that Mark Zuckerberg flat out denied that they were working on a Facebook phone of any sort back in July of 2012 less than a month after a rumor leaked claiming Facebook and HTC were working on a phone together. It seems that Zuckerberg might not have been as honest as we would like to think.  Another interesting item about this release is that Facebook is not trying to take over the phone completely. Instead they appear to be working with a heavily modified version of Android with Facebook apps at its core. This could help the new OS appear more attractive to Android fans instead of a completely Facebook style OS.  This is a fairly smart move on the part of Facebook, but we do have our concerns about any device made by Facebook considering their track record on privacy and use of personal information.

For now we can expect to see subtle and not-so-subtle marketing efforts from Facebook in an attempt to show us why this phone is a great idea and we need one. The most recent one that I saw was a reminder that we are all addicted to the Facebook mobile app. It was an interesting thing to say as the Facebook mobile App for Android is still very buggy. Still they need to remind us of these things from time to time or we will “forget”.  We have a feeling that Facebook will have an interesting time in getting people to buy into their phone concept. Although people do use the Facebook Mobile app it is still an app on their phone, it is not the core of the phone like this new product will be. In the past attempts at doing this have failed (remember the Kin?) and failed fairly badly which could impact this new product  as well.

To put it plainly; Facebook and HTC will have to make sure that this phone as compelling features that you cannot get with any other phone. I am not talking about simple ones like Instgram integration or Facebook Messenger. You can get these on almost any phone. These features must be very solid and offer consumers more than just a rebrand. I am not sure that Facebook and HTC are up to that at this time, but I guess we will find out when they pull the curtains back on their new product on April 4.

Would you by a Facebook phone? Tell us what you would need in our Forum


Last modified on Monday, 08 April 2013 06:09

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