Since its inception in 2004, Facebook’s user base has skyrocketed to over 800 million active users, making it the largest social network in the world. Furthermore, smartphones have made social interaction much easier since they are readily available for pictures, videos, and status updates. While these innovations have helped connect millions people who would have never met otherwise, they provide for distractions for professionals and academics finishing up their master’s degree programs while fumbling through poorly-designed apps. If this phone is actually in development, we should expect to see a fully Facebook-integrated phone which cuts out many bugs that current phones have when running buggy applications.
Despite the failures of earlier devices, rumors have surfaced that Facebook is allegedly working on their own brand of smartphone that will integrate heavily with the social network. HTC is rumored to be the manufacturer, which means the phone will likely run a modified Android kernel as its operating system. HTC is a logical choice, since they use their own modified version of Android (SenseUI) in its devices running Android’s operating system.
The main benefit of the phone is that if created, it’s possible that it could serve up Facebook apps in the form of HTML5. This means highly popular games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars could find their way into the mobile marketplace and could potentially only be available for those who own the rumored Facebook phone. With a highly modified version of Android similar to what both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have done with their respective tablets, it’s possible that the Facebook phone, dubbed “Buffy”, could succeed in a niche market composed of power-Facebook users.
Of course, when asked by Mashable, neither Facebook nor HTC would comment on the rumors that surround the mysterious phone. Given the course of current HTC phones, it’s likely that the phone will be in candy bar form and will feature nVidia Tegra 2 graphics in order to process the graphics-heavy applications that are available on Facebook. With no further details, the Facebook phone is an unconfirmed rumor until HTC or Facebook decides to release more information.
Now, many have asked why Facebook should make a phone when some surveys have shown that only 7% of users would be interested in a phone made by Facebook but if you do digging on the subject you will see “Why Not?” is the more common answer. With Windows mobile phones about to gain ground and Google Android phones likely to have Google+ communication built in, if Facebook doesn’t partner to make their own phones they could lose market share in the mobile space. Also Facebook is looking to branch out and make themselves a portal to get to anything else on the web, their application integration space is still among the largest and greatly exceeds Google+ applications.
So what do you think, would you buy a Facebook phone? Is there a market for it?
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