Is Facebook building a smartphone? Does anyone care?

Facebook apps Is Facebook building a smartphone? Does anyone care?

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Although Facebook’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) was called by financial experts a failure, Mark Zuckerberg’s monster company still has its sights set very high. With stocks falling and more than $17 billion lost off an initial $104 billion valuation, the social networking service might be looking to expand way off its comfort zone and into smartphone hardware manufacturing.

Oh I hope so, just so that we can watch it crumble and fall into an abyss of irrelevance in 5 years. (FYI: If you want Tyler’s take, it’s here.)

I’m really not a Facebook basher – I freely admit that I’m a regular user and I enjoy that I can interact with people for FREE. I don’t click on advertisements, I regularly delete content from my profile that isn’t relevant or current – so Facebook is overall not really getting much benefit from my participation other than behaviour harvesting (which is meaningless when you behave like you’re schizophrenic).

But seriously, a mobile phone from the Zuck? Let’s explore some recent ridiculousness from Facebook on phones that aren’t even theirs.

I’ve lost count of the number of Facebook app updates in the past few months, with their ambiguous “Bug Fixes” version change messages. The biggest disaster that comes to mind is running an update and discovering a new camera app (astoundingly called “camera”) right next to my other camera app, and a new messenger app as well. I didn’t ask for those things, nor did I approve them. I installed a Facebook app.

Did you notice how quickly those were removed in the very next update? Nice attempt to “trick” people into thinking their stock camera app was now “Powered by Facebook” – coincidence? Of course not. It makes me wonder if Mark Z even knows what his company is doing (if he does he certainly doesn’t act like it).

Update (6/3/12): This was too good to pass up – check out this excellent article about the Facebook Camera app, and why it “needs” to know your location.

Now you can install individual apps for Facebooky things. And they will remind you about it constantly. I’ve still not figured out how to stop Facebook’s mobile app from reminding me that I can install the messenger app for faster access to chatting with my friends. OR how about I just use the Facebook app and do it there? Get rid of the clutter!

So now let’s picture a Facebook smartphone that does one thing (and probably not very well either) – it lets you upload everything you do to facebook…which you can do today with your facebook app. At least when Google came out with a mobile phone series they put their apps in one nice little isolated tray so they wouldn’t interfere with anything else you wanted to do on the phone. It’s not a Google phone, it’s a phone that happens to have some Google apps on it.

I don’t get the need for Facebook branding of a phone. Is there really a market for a new brand of phone anyway? I get lost in the lists and lists of vendors and products out there, and the numbers and letters and versions and code names and blah blah blah.

It will be just another phone that gets the latest Android version 4 months after Google releases it. No thank you.

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  • Matthew Deal

    Plus, wasn’t there one crap Facebook Phone project that had the Facebook Icon as an independent button that was more or less a flop? Twitter couldn’t pull this off in my opinion, much less Facebook.