As we’re all more than well aware, Facebook has been making a number of curious moves of late. Though, the company’s biggest noise has been around its IPO, there is much more than that happening in Facebookland.
In the recent weeks we’ve seen Facebook release its own app store, similar to that of iPhones and that’s perhaps where the suspicion’s foundations lie. The new ‘App Store’ initially provides users with 600 new apps for Facebook and delivers personal recommendations as regards apps. Of course, these apps can then be used on smart phones – all pretty kosher.
However, more important than the apps themselves is the sign of intent such a move may bring. Rumours are circling the social media sphere that Facebook is looking at creating its own mobile phone and the app store is only one in a long line of clues to suggest this.
Recently, the New York Times reported that Facebook was recruiting hardware engineers through third party companies for work on a smart phone. Other reports also suggest that the company is working to create its own phone, which has the code name ‘Buffy’.
Previous suggestions were that Facebook has worked with both HTC and INQ to create a phone. Many who believe Facebook won’t want to have to rely on another company to create its phones as it may cause difficulties in the future with licensing and in other areas.
Experts are divided over whether the creation of a Facebook phone would be the natural move for a company in this area. However, according to Nick Bilton of the New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg is afraid that if the company does not create a phone, the social media site will merely become an app on other company’s mobile platforms. Zucckerberg supposedly trusts that creating a new Facebook phone will help the company captain its own ship to a greater degree and ensure the longevity of Facebook. Something especially important in the fickle world of social media – ask MySpace.
The new Facebook camera app is the strongest signifier yet that the company is creating a new handheld device. Even with the high profile purchase of Instagram, Facebook has gone ahead and created its own camera app. This app could be used as the main camera app on a Facebook phone. Of course, Facebook’s Messenger service could be used as its version of iMessages and there have also been a lot of reports that the company is going to purchase the Opera browser, which would fix an internet issue.
A lot of heads in the industry still think this is a step to far for a social media company. Even if Facebook recruits from Apple and RIM, they still have an uphill battle against Apple and Google. They also have a checked history when it comes to creating software, and their camera app one of their best.
However, only time and official announcements will tell whether we’ll see a Facebook phone.
Do you think it’s a great idea or a step to far from social media?