TechCrunch has stated that Facebook are preparing their own mobile phone. The company denies it, but TechCrunch maintains their position.
With a base of more than 500 million users, the social network Facebook has become an enormous machine, making it possible to earn on various fronts – including mobile telephony.
Facebook has for a long time been present in the mobile domain, with a mobile Web site and applications dedicated to most mobile platforms on the market. But according to TechCrunch, the company is developing their own "Facebook Phone", a dedicated handset for which they have already developed specifications.
A spokesman quickly denied this was the case, indicating that the company was working on integrating their services into platforms but not a particular phone. While acknowledging this denial, TechCrunch nevertheless maintains the idea that Facebook are currently developing mobile software in partnership with an Asian hardware assembler.
This would provide a device which directly integrated Facebook’s services, with different telephone functions and address books, something which would only be possible if they had full control over the system.
The rumour remains intact While Facebook maintains the line "we are not mobile manufacturers", TechCrunch points out that at the end of 2009, Google also stated that they weren’t interested in manufacturing a telephone… before announcing the Google Nexus One, a handset manufactured by HTC according to specifications provided by the search giant.
But is Facebook’s case really comparable to Google? Numerous market watchers don’t think so. Access to Facebook is already widely available on most mobiles on the market, while support of their mobile interface has already been pushed well thanks to partnerships with mobile manufacturers.
Releasing such a dedicated device would pose a lot of problems, while there would be few advantages to such a move unless Facebook planned to introduce new services which were only available on their handset.
Would Facebook users require their social networks so much that they would run out to get a specific phone? We would have to believe that this wouldn’t currently be the case when taking into consideration sales of existing dedicated mobile devices.