Facebook Phone…say it ain’t so

News that Facebook has hired ex-apple engineers has generated an onslaught of speculation that Facebook is once again developing its very own mobile phone. Honestly though…is there really a need for a Facebook phone?

What are Facebook’s current mobile offerings?

Facebook offers its main mobile application, Messenger (chat) app, Facebook Camera, Facebook Offers and a nearly full featured mobile webpage. With these 5 applications, one can essentially perform the same tasks via a mobile phone or tablet that can be performed through a desktop browser. If the goal behind creating a Facebook phone is to give the user desktop power on the go, then the existence of these 5 applications nullifies that need since they are available across the main three platforms…making any phone a pseudo Facebook phone.

What caused this speculation to come about?

 But who am I kidding? We know that the main reason behind such speculation is Facebook’s need for a source of growth.

Facebook’s hugely anticipated IPO became one of the biggest examples of IPO mismanagement in recent history and with Facebook stock value plummeting, the only way to stop the bleeding and display worthiness of the lofty valuation placed on the company is to show growth…as quickly as possible. The biggest concern to Facebook’s investors continues to be the site’s inability to effectively monetize their mobile platform.

I for one, have never clicked on a Facebook ad since I started using it in 2005 and the same goes for most people I know. What made Facebook “cool” was that for many years it existed as an ad free service. We weren’t bombarded with ads on the side or being told to sign up with Yahoo in order to read certain articles (I can’t be the only one that finds this annoying). The problem facing Facebook now is, this “cool” factor is now what is preventing them from effectively monetizing the site for mobile platforms. We are so used to signing on, getting our information and signing off without any interruption that any slight obstacle (whether it is ads, app requests, etc) that impedes our navigation of the site is met with resistance; or we find a way around it.

While jumping into the mobile hardware arena provides Facebook several ways of monetizing their entire service offerings, ultimately this idea is less profitable than many may think. Entering the hardware war with its high barriers of entry would require Facebook to set up a physical supply chain, a heavy investment, and a new area of operations that Facebook does not have experience in. To survive in this arena requires a constant stream of new development and continual heavy investment in both engineering and manufacturing. Without guaranteed sales this looks to be a massive risk, which if navigated incorrectly could lead to the demise of Facebook…not worth it!

Where can Facebook go from here?

 Whenever a company undergoes a dramatic change, one of two things can happen. Either the company crashes or it finds a way to use the change for its benefit. In the case of Facebook, the IPO presented a significant change in the company’s end goal. The goal is now to gain investors and generate a return on their investments instead of simply to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” as Mr. Zuckerberg, so simply put it.

What this goal shift allows Facebook to do is evolve! Evolution is essential to the longevity of any company because it must adapt to the world around it and often times reinvent itself in order to remain relevant. Here’s a few of the more popular companies that have re-invented themselves over time:

  • Apple went from a computer company to a consumer electronics company.
  • Nintendo went from a card company, to taxis, to love hotels, to toys, before finally landing on gaming consoles.
  • Google went from a search hub, to browser, to a mobile OS and is now creating a web based desktop OS.

Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook’s primary post IPO goals are to improve mobile and advertising experiences. With this new focus, Facebook has a chance to create a whole new experience for the mobile user. Mobile platforms are the way of the future and in my opinion no company is better positioned to shape and dictate how things are done in the mobile arena than Facebook.

Facebook does not have to create a phone to solve its money generating problem. It has a daily active user base of almost 500 million people with a passion or in many cases an addiction to the site and its services…that are more than willing to try out any new service that gets rolled out. Facebook just has to ensure that any new feature that gets rolled out is fun, easy to use and non intrusive.

By: Chisom Agada

Tags: , ,

Categories: Editorial

Author:chizzwhiz

Full Time Engineer, Oil and Gas Industry Full Time Tech Enthusiast...Part Time Blogger Favorite Sport: Soccer

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