Yesterday, TechCrunch broke
the news that
Facebook was secretly building its own smartphone, or at least
developing a deeply integrated OS for a smartphone.
a quick follow-up, CNET asked
the social media company for comment and received this in return;
"Facebook is not building a phone," a Facebook spokesperson
"Our view is that almost all experiences would be better if they
were social, so integrating deeply into existing platforms and
operating systems is a good way to enable this."
it appears that the "Facebook phone" is still a possible
reality, in the same way that the Nexus One was "the Google
phone." Google had a huge say in the design and specifications
of the phone, while the actual building was done by a third-party
manufacturer (HTC). It makes much more sense for Facebook to go
this route, developing an Android-based smartphone with deep Facebook
integration to run on a single carrier with exclusivity, ala the
that although the company denied building a smartphone, it did not
respond when asked whether it was developing a Facebook-branded phone
with the help of a third party. Another source told CNET that
"the concept is in the very early stages and Facebook apparently
has not determined whether to proceed."
the marketability of a Facebook-branded phone, and cites the
weak sales of the Nexus One, and the disastrously
disappointing Microsoft Kin (which deeply integrated social media
and mobile phones), as reasons for pause.
the Microsoft Kin failed for reasons other than deep social media
integration -- price and a weak, disjointed OS.
done right -- especially if coupled with the already massively
successful Android OS -- a Facebook phone could be hugely popular.
After all, 500
million built-in customers can't be wrong.