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Facebook Smartphone a Dumb Idea, Says Farhad Manjoo 128

Posted by timothy
from the it'd-have-to-have-a-pretty-fancy-gimmick dept.
beaverdownunder writes "Farhad Manjoo examines Facebook's rumoured entry into the smartphone market, concluding, 'So what would be the point in using the Facebook phone? Well, remember, it will be cheap. But so are lots of Android phones. If Facebook makes a phone, then, the device will necessarily spark a battle for the low end of the phone market, with each company offering ever-cheaper devices in the hopes of cashing in on some future advertising bonanza. If you're looking for a cheap, ad-heavy phone based on a dubious business model, you should rejoice. Otherwise, try to stifle your yawns.'"
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Facebook Smartphone a Dumb Idea, Says Farhad Manjoo

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  • by sgraar (958944) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @07:35AM (#40200335)

    If so, I'm in.

  • Disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @07:41AM (#40200361)

    Facebook is probably one of the most well known brands in the world. A facebook branded phone would get lots of sales regardless of how well the phone performed.

    • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2012 @07:45AM (#40200387)

      So is Coca-Cola and McDonalds but I sure as hell wouldn't buy a phone of either of them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So is Coca-Cola and McDonalds but I sure as hell wouldn't buy a phone of either of them.

        No but I bet people would buy a drink carbonator from Coca-cola and a burger maker from McDonalds. Brands sell. People will see "Oh I like Facebook, I'll get that phone!", especially if it's cheap as people won't research their purchase the same.

        • by flyneye (84093)

          I wish I could come up with a product that sells in such high numbers, but I'm just too damned moral.
          I couldn't bring myself to sell cars even after training on a big lot for a month. I damn sure couldn't sucker even the most loathsome shmoe into buying the crap offered us by todays major corporations.

          If facebook is so pathetically insecure, can you imagine the problems that switching to a phone interface will bring?
          It's like breeding phreaks with black hats, I predict woe, doom, anarchy, hilarity and an ab

          • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @08:43AM (#40200617)

            I had the same problem for the short time I was in a commissioned sales position. I simply could not sell people products and service packages that I knew they did not need, a fact that put me squarely on the shit list of the higher-ups in the department. I underwent a lot of "sales training" and "workshops" at their command, the main gist of them being "whatever the customer tells you they need, you tell them they need more and don't stop until they're so pissed off that there is a danger of losing the sale entirely."

            As a customer, the "hard sell" always just turns me off, and I've seen first hand how much it turns off the bulk of the general public, so I really wonder where the hell people are seeing the success that warrants this mindset being pushed in the first place. Is it really worth one customer being upsold if we're alienating five other customers in the process? I guess it is to some people, but not to me...

            • by BagOCrap (980854)

              Mod parent up. This is exactly why I prefer to keep my position as "sysadmin", rather than a "consultant".

              FB phone? That would sure as hell no longer be a "smartphone".

            • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Informative)

              by Surt (22457) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @11:38AM (#40201675) Homepage Journal

              Commissioned sales are done exclusively in intensely competitive markets. Why? Because the only money to be made is off the suckers who will fall for high pressure sales. Even if you alienate the other 80% of the market, you're just driving them to your competitors, where their negotiating prowess will make them a net COST to your competitor. As an example, the moment a dealership figures out you are a '500 over dealer price' negotiator, they should stop talking to you. Their net on those deals is risking going negative (and the situation gets worse the longer it takes you to haggle them to that price, so it's best if they can figure you out quickly and send you on your way). That frees them up to focus on the people from whom they can actually extract some profit.

              • Re:Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

                by jbengt (874751) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @12:51PM (#40202191)

                Commissioned sales are done exclusively in intensely competitive markets. Why? Because the only money to be made is off the suckers who will fall for high pressure sales.

                My experience is a counterexample. Commissioned sales is the norm in the construction industry, but that does not include suckers who fall for high pressure sales. On the contrary, the sellers relying on commissions are the ones who are pressured. They often help the buyers design the systems and select the equipment they are selling, yet still have to come with the low price under several other suppliers in order to get the sale. The buyers often play the sellers bids' against the others in order to lower the price of the equipment and materials they would prefer - or just go with the cheaper crap if they think they can get away with it.

            • Exactly the same, which is why I am a crappy salesman but a half-decent technician.
            • by graphius (907855)

              Very sad state of affairs. I have managed commission sales forces, and I would come down on anyone who did the hard sell. You are right, it pisses off customers, it increases returns, it demoralizes staff....
              Why does it seem like the worst businesses are the most successful?*

              *actually I don't believe that. Good businesses are very successful, but it is harder. Bad businesses are good enough, and it is much easier in the short term to gain a quick market share, go bankrupt/change your name, and start over..

      • *you* wouldn't... the majority of the world's sheeple would be drooling at its sight, though...
      • by flyneye (84093)

        But every Ronald McDonald phone you buy goes to help the children!
        Won't you think of the children?

        It's coming and probably wouldn't have if you hadn't posted the idea.
        Butterfly effect in full force.

      • So is Coca-Cola and McDonalds but I sure as hell wouldn't buy a phone of either of them.

        Why not? I hear the apps are quite refreshing.

      • by DSW-128 (959567)
        I want my Happy Meal phone!
      • You would not but some fool somewhere would [gearfuse.com].
    • by khallow (566160)
      That's a pretty weak argument. Sure, it'll get a lot of sales. But frankly, they'll need more sales than merely a lot of sales in order for it to be worth the exercise. They're basically cashing in on the brand name for pennies on the dollar.
    • by arisvega (1414195)

      A facebook branded phone would get lots of sales regardless of how well the phone performed.

      I hear your point. Assuming they launch it, at some point it will become apparent that the spying, data-snooping, profiling and all the similar avenues of revenue for FB will have been integrated into the hardware.

      As it is usually the case, when this whole (now hypothetical) scenario creates a new set of privacy violation scandals and legal issues, by the moment those issues have been addressed FB will have, as always, already had "gotten away with the loot" (read: further profiling of personal data and ha

    • Facebook is probably one of the most well known brands in the world. A facebook branded phone would get lots of sales regardless of how well the phone performed.

      It's unquestionably a well-known brand, but a key part of branding is creating an identity that customers feel positively towards. And in terms of being trusted and liked by customers, Facebook is probably one of the worst brands in the world. The reason that Facebook can be successful despite this is because the company has a monopoly in this market. You can't easily leave and join a different social networking site, unless you could somehow figure out how to convince all your friends to join that site at

      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        > And in terms of being trusted and liked by customers, Facebook is probably one of the worst brands in the world.

        Only in the west, South East Asia has no problems with it.

  • Duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Sunday June 03, 2012 @07:45AM (#40200385) Homepage

    Facebook is making a phone because Facebook is a huge brand and people will buy it just because it has the Facebook logo on the case. The target market is clueless Facebook users, the same ones who click "yes" when asked if they would like the latest Zynga crap to invade their privacy and waste their time.

    Christ, Farhad Manjoo is thick.

    • If they're making a phone, it's not a business decision; it's simply because Zuck sees it as a "cool" thing to do/have. That's all he's interested in, he has stated it explicitly.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      This is going on already. For a year or two at least.

      Besides having Facebook, Gmail and other popular services advertised in the phone's description and feature list, local providers sell low-cost unlimited data plans for use on facebook and gmail mobile sites only (any other data use falls out of that plan).

      Having the Facebook logo on the phone directly won't make much of a difference.

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @09:55AM (#40201023)

      Facebook is making a phone because Facebook is a huge brand and people will buy it just because it has the Facebook logo on the case.

      The thing about that is that mobile phones are incredibly difficult products. You can easily make a good in shop demo. The first few people may well buy the phone and try it. However, as Microsoft is finding out with Windows Phone, once the early adopters find they have a dud, no amount of marketing can fix that. Your phone is with you all the time; it represents you. If you pull out a Windows based mobile phone you look like a dork and people laugh at you behind your back. Bad mobile phones have a real potential to destroy great brands and have done so many times over; think of Ericsson, Benefon, Sendo, Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, etc. etc.Think about how Microsoft has fallen from about 38% smart phone market share to below 5% even with all their resources available. Think about how Nokia is being totally destroyed by their Windows Phone failures.

      Facebook can make a success about this, but they will need many things:

      • at least one, preferably two of the tier one manufacturers; Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson or even Nokia*
      • a fully functional OS platform controlled by Facebook
      • a clear way to persuade the manufacturers that Facebook can't use that control against them
      • a complete mobile ecosystem
      • a way to differentiate strongly from Microsoft and Google
      • serious levels of developer involvement and open source efficiency
      • top levels of operator buy in

      Microsoft is desperate enough that they might give Zuck a deal that looks almost good enough; certainly lots better than the deal Nokia seems to have got. However, I think Zuck already knows he's getting associated with being a loser and so the risk of such a deal would be far too great. In any case, Microsoft having brought Nokia down after the "Burning Platforms" memo; they will have great difficulty delivering even close to most of the points above and there's no real sign that they will ever get it together so there may be nothing that could ever fix their platform.

      My feeling? This is possible, but you would have to do something like

      • Make an Android fork, but add in WebOS and/or Mer features to make it different
      • Move lots of new Android code under the GPLv3 or equivalent in order to stop Google from benefiting in turn
      • push lots of Facebook interfaces into the OS
      • Make a more iOS like walled garden app store than the Google one.

      By going with Android binary compatibility Zuck would guarantee that he starts with the apps base he needs. By going with the GPLv3 he knows he will piss off Google who hates that license more than anything. By pissing off Google he will get allies and differentiation.

      In the end, however, it's the operators who will decide. They know that there can be no more than three smartphone operating systems. They had hoped Microsoft would take over Blackberry's and Symbian's position as those two fail. With Microsoft's Skype strategy the operators became afraid that Microsoft will come for them. Now that MS is clearly going to fail in the market, they will be happy to look for a new alternative. A Facebook Android fork would look like a cheap way to get that.

      * Motorola ruled out from potential partners since I doubt Google will play. Apple ruled out since I'm pretty sure they won't play. LG, NEC, ZTE etc. ruled out as just too small or too regional.

      • I know Slashdot has a really low bar for +5 insightful for comments related to 'M$', but you're really making up things here. Windows Phone has the highest customer satisfaction numbers.

        http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-phone-tops-in-user-satisfaction [neowin.net]

        http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=20980 [iclarified.com]

        http://windowsphonenetwork.com/2012/03/pcmags-readers-choice-awards-windows-phone/ [windowsphonenetwork.com]

        Even Siri was answering that the Nokia Windows Phone was the best cellphone ever before Apple shut it down and replaced it wit

        • So wait; you trust a googlebomb (how do you think Siri gets it's results?) and a survey taken before WP7 was widely available (at which time most users were MS employees) as sources of quality for a phone. You believe this proves you aren't a dork?? Let's just point out that there are very few good Windows Phone applications now. At the time of that survey there were practically none except for porno site reskins. Yet, this survey showed that the users were satisfied with WP7.

          • There were multiple surveys taken at different times by different independent sources and the results are roughly the same. All 4 major US carriers had a Windows phone by march or april 2011.

            >. At the time of that survey there were practically none except for porno site reskins.

            There were plenty of apps at launch like Facebook, Netflix and a whole bunch of others. A typical user does not have 100 apps on their phones. So users can be satisfied with 50K instead of 500k. More is better, but less is not ho

      • If you pull out a Windows based mobile phone you look like a dork and people laugh at you behind your back.

        Even your dog laughs at you.

      • Move lots of new Android code under the GPLv3 or equivalent in order to stop Google from benefiting in turn.

        Hey, somebody who gets copyleft.

        • hmm.. I doubt it's what you meant but:

          This follows from fairly simple Machiavellian analysis. Copyleft was invented for a reason; to stop companies from stealing the software and twisting it to their use. If you fail to use copyleft, you are obviously going to be weaker than someone who does use it. As Machiavelli pointed out: the weak are unable to defend their ideas.

          This does not mean that Facebook would be doing the right thing, however it's legal and not particularly immoral (though that might n

      • Facebook is making a phone because Facebook is a huge brand and people will buy it just because it has the Facebook logo on the case.

        The thing about that is that mobile phones are incredibly difficult products. You can easily make a good in shop demo. The first few people may well buy the phone and try it. However, as Microsoft is finding out with Windows Phone, once the early adopters find they have a dud, no amount of marketing can fix that.

        Look at Justin Bieber and Hello Kitty, do you think the owners of that merchandise give a flying fuck about what other people think? BTW, you might want to check how WP sales are going outside your group of friends. last I read WP are outselling iPhone [bgr.com] in the biggest phone market in the world

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @07:47AM (#40200395)

    . . . but consumers are even dumber.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I disagree. A phone is a fine idea.

      People connect to Facebook and rely on it for everything. From trending articles, stories and features. Instant Messaging and email. Calender for events. You log into face book and you're connected to your social world. Most users don't need any other part of the internet because it's all there on Facebook. Who else is on Facebook? Just about all their friends, family and coworkers too. It's a safe, predictable and complete environment. With Facebook Messenger, people are

    • Came here to say this. We would have said the same thing about the iPhone if we knew how hard it would suck (from a geek's POV) compared to the competition. See also: CmdrTaco's famous iPod vs. Nomad comparison.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2012 @07:51AM (#40200411)

    And why should I care what he thinks?

    • The guy has a Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] page. Not that having a Wikipedia page should make a person important enough to care about. But I do rate Wikipedia higher than Facebook, as far as notability is concerned.
    • by snsh (968808) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @09:26AM (#40200855)

      He's the guy who writes about how everyone doing space-space at the end of a sentence is "wrong".

      Basically, he's a famous Troll.

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @02:20PM (#40202809)

        He's the guy who writes about how everyone doing space-space at the end of a sentence is "wrong".

        Yep, and that article has been completely refuted as BS, at least in terms of its historical claims and the reasons why many modern publishers have mostly adopted a single-space standard. See, for example: http://www.heracliteanriver.com/?p=324 [heracliteanriver.com]

        Basically, he's a famous Troll.

        Pretty much.

        • Basically, he's a famous Troll.

          Pretty much.

          It's sad that people invent stories to prove a point. I don't really have much to contribute, but I can mention that I believe those two spaces are mainly an English thing, I never heard of it before having used the internet for quite a while. I'm old enough to have taken a typewriting class at school, and never heard it mentioned there. In Norwegian, at least, it's expressly forbidden [google.com] ("It should never be two spaces after each other" in Google's somewhat clumsy translation. That page is trustworthy, they g

    • He wrote True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society

      And why should I care what he thinks?

      Eh, why not?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You shouldn't care what he thinks. He's a Slate columnist who doesn't know what he's talking about. He writes about technology, but doesn't understand it. He's sorta like the teen hipster wannabe who hangs around Starbucks trying to look cool. If you need proof, just read his glowing preview of Win8, in which he claims that Win95 had a command-line added to appease people who complained about it... nevermind the fact that the OS was really MS-DOS at the core of Win95, and GUI was added on top of it. E

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        Ain't Slate something that Microsoft created? In which case, they may well be under orders to only write good things about Windows 8. But even then, if he thinks that the CLI was a special feature of Windows 95 when in fact, the OS was simply sitting on top of DOS, then he is - or was - embarrassingly ignorant. At that time, most people were migrating from DOS/Windows 3.11, and so it was impossible to not know that DOS was the underlying OS, even if one had an autoexec.bat script to go into Windows the m
      • He isn't an expert at anything, and I wouldn't trust him as an expert.

        BUT...

        He does seem to have a knack for the tech-interested masses, the ones that spend money on tech devices and there are many of them. How many iPhone users read Slashdot? Not many. How many iPhones have sold? Exactly. His opinion is worth watching for his marketing perspective, not his technical expertise.

  • irrelevant (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Not to disagree with Farhad's thesis, but none the less, Farhad may be the worst tech pundit ever. At least pundits of yore, even where their crystal balls were a little cloudy, had some actual tech bona-fides and did at least a bit of original research. Things like, you know, ingratiating themselves into the tech industry they report on. Farhad sits at home and reads tech blogs and summarizes his opinions. You know, like anyone with a computer and an internet connection could do. And do do. You'll le

    • But he can be right on who wins and loses in the market. He doesn't know much, that's for sure, but there are millions of Farhads who buy things first and tell their friends about it.
  • So what would be the point in using the Facebook phone? Well, remember, it will be cheap. But so are lots of Android phones. If Facebook makes a phone, then, the device will necessarily spark a battle for the low end of the phone market, with each company offering ever-cheaper devices in the hopes of cashing in on some future advertising bonanza.

    So why doesnt that apply to anyone looking to launch a new Android phone, or why didnt it apply when Android entered the market after the iPhone?

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      So why doesnt that apply to anyone looking to launch a new Android phone, or why didnt it apply when Android entered the market after the iPhone?

      It does. That's why the top-selling phones in the USA are, in order, the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 3G. That's why profits in the mobile industry are divided into Apple's 75% and everyone else scrabbling over the remaining 25%.

      • The point I was making was why isn't the arrival of yet another Android phone derided in the same manner as the phone concept in this story? Why wasn't the arrival of Android in the first place derided, as it is having exactly the same effect as discussed in this story...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's why the top-selling phones in the USA are, in order, the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 3G

        Liar. Sales figures show that you are completely wrong. iPhones don't even figure in the top five. Pathetic.

        • Samsung lg l700 , ~9 Million
        • Samsung Galaxy S2 , ~6 Million
        • Nokia Lumia 900 , ~5 Million
        • HTC One X , ~2 Million

        - Citation [wikipedia.org]

        That's why profits in the mobile industry are divided into Apple's 75%

        I've always wondered about this, so I'll just ask you. Why do you jizz your pants about overpaying for a shitty out of date phone just because it pads Apple's bottom line? You realize that those billions in revenue are marketing-driven and based on getting suckers like you to pay

  • Not dumb at all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zome (546331) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @08:23AM (#40200523)
    This is what facebook will do to their phone. It will create a new phone platform with its own API. This API will be compatible with the phone AND the web. In another word, you write a game using this API once, and it will run in your browser, and on your phone. When people make in-game purchase, facebook gets a cut. This is how they will make money on the mobile platform. They won't make any money if facebook is just an app on any phone facebook doesn't own. This is why MarkZ is worrying.

    Given that there are far more facebook users than iphone or android combined, if you are mobile game/app developer, would you write your program using this API? I would. Suddenly, facebook can compete with iOS and android for developers attentions. Something RM and MS are trying so hard to do for sometime.
    • I agree that making a phone is better than doing nothing. And facebook has a locked-in user base to leverage, if they played their cards right (I'm not betting money on this.)

      I'm surprised they aren't planning to make a bargain basement 10" tablet (also). And their user base is already used to their products being crud, so they could go in very cheap on the quality and no-one would be overly surprised.

      I'd love to see a reliable poll on how many people who use facebook regularly were pleased to see the sha

    • The phone will not be cheap, Apple and Samsung have production cornered. Apple and Samsung also make all the profits. FB would not be able to sell the phone cheap enough to make enough profit...unless they intend to make a loss on each unit and make up for it in volume....LOL. I'm sure some muppet investors would still be up for that option however.
  • Instead the whole interface will be facebook. If you want to talk to someone, select them from your facebook friends. etc. Apply as appropriate to all other activities you do with smartphones. Other phone systems will still have the facebook 'app' but it will have worse features which will just encourage people to swap to a facebook phone.
    You status could be constantly updated with who you are talking with or having multi-text conversations with or even where you are travelling to because it knows your cale

    • by vux984 (928602)

      But what do I know? I don't have a facebook account.

      On the upside, then no one with a fb phone could call you... seeing as ...

      "If you want to talk to someone, select them from your facebook friends. etc."

      • by rjforster (2130)

        This is either 'yay, I don't want to talk to them anyway' or it will use the concept of 'accountless friends' (or virtual friends, or whatever you want to call them) where they effectively make an account on my behalf by entering me as a contact. I seem to recall someone (google or facebook maybe?) patenting something obvious like this recently. This also means that should I get a facebook account at some point afterwards then I will find my account readily populated with friends (it knows it's actually me

        • by vux984 (928602)

          This is either 'yay, I don't want to talk to them anyway'

          I -did- call it the upside. :)

  • by MasterPatricko (1414887) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @08:29AM (#40200553) Homepage

    Says random Slashdot poster

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And why should I care about his opinion?

    Is this guy a prominent business person? Someone involved in the telecomm industry? An entrepreneur with a dozen tech companies in his portfolio? Or just some reporter desperate to get some page views?

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Precisely what I was wondering. /. just dropped his name like he was a Brin, Page, Cerf or someone of that fame.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who the fuck is Farhad Manjoo? And why the fuck should I listen to him? What the hell, Slashdot.

  • by sribe (304414) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @08:50AM (#40200665)

    As far as I can tell, this entire rumor started because FaceBook was allegedly having discussions with and/or recruiting former/current iPhone/Android engineering staff. Which would also be the case if they were looking to integrate FaceBook and services deeper into the core software of phones--which would make a lot more sense.

    • I kinda agree. If there's some truth to the rumor, Facebook is likely planning to rebrand or re-spin (a la Fedora) a smartphone OS with tight Facebook integration. This wouldn't be far from what Google is already doing when it "gives away" Android. Google profits not from selling the OS but in winning an audience for its ad services or data mining projects.

      But why go to the trouble of selling a whole phone? Making hardware is a far riskier business than administering a web site, while relatively minimal inv

      • by sribe (304414)

        If the grandaddy of all smartphone makers was still around, we could get the FacePALM. On the other hand, RIMM is floundering around looking for a new place in the market, so maybe the BlackFace. (Cue RIMM shot here...)

        • by Legion303 (97901)

          It's just RIM, and I hear their engineers get pretty good benefits. Some day I, too, would like a RIM job.

  • by swb (14022) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @08:53AM (#40200687)

    The Facebook phone is for people who look at the Internet and communications through a social media lens. They aren't thinking about a smart phone from a technology perspective or even so much as an app perspective. For them, their phone (likely a feature phone with a slideout keyboard, used primarily for texting) is really a social connector used to send text messages. For them, the internet is the web only and social media almost exclusively. They use Facebook a lot, and Facebook messaging and chat instead of email and IM.

      I think there are a lot of people out there like this, especially in less well educated circles, lower income groups, among younger people and the technologically unsophisticated.

    I know people who had computers but seldom used them -- emailing them was never a good idea, they might read email once a week. Once they discover Facebook, they're on the computer all the time, but almost exclusively on Facebook. It's become their predominant computer activity.

    Their cell phone? Probably some ancient flip. When their carrier EOLs it and they have to upgrade, they might find a Facebook phone -- subsidized by advertising to keep it cost competitive with the lowest end phones from both a device AND service perspective.

    Anyway, I think this locus of groups would probably find a Facebook phone appealing. To anyone else who remotely knows what a smartphone is or has a use for one otherwise? A non-starter. But thinking of a Facebook phone only in terms of direct competition with other phones is a mistake.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      The Facebook phone is for people who look at the Internet and communications through a social media lens.

      Nope, the facebook phone is for those suffering from a classic case of NPD. [wikipedia.org]

  • That watching your FB stock lose value in the 'beeeeeellions' must have a more smoothing comfortableness to Zuckerberg on a 5"x3" screen versus a 27.5" screen. Smaller screen == Loses 'feeling' smaller than they are.

    Oh and about the phone? Horrible idea.

  • for someone who is really into Face Book it might be desirable, that is assuming that it will have special features, pertaining to face book, that you can't get on any flavor of android Face Book app. I mean if it has some sort of built in face book GUI that is much better than android apps in comparison, has ways to manage games such as Farmville and the likes I can actually see it being a hit regardless of phone quality based solely on the ease of Face Book management.
  • Ignoring the fact that I don't know who this guy is and why I should care about his opinion on Facebook or mobile phones, I'm not going to read the article because of this choice quote:

    ...spark a battle for the low end of the phone market, with each company offering ever-cheaper devices...

    Cheaper? Cheaper than free? The low end of the mobile market is dominated by _FREE_ phones. And we're not talking about garbage throw-away phones - you can get an iPhone 4, which is far from a piece of garbage, for free on many carriers. Of course Android has a wide selection of phones that are available for free from all ca

  • Ignoring the fact that Facebook could benefit from having a phone that provides better content for them..easier input to phone through sylus/keyboard/camera, Have a larger screen to get those adverts people keep talking about without distracting from the content.

    Ignoring the fact that Facebook is going to have to compete directly against Google+ as Google embed more social into their platform...that has been dominant for all but the most faithful Apple Fanboy.

    Facebook could create a social phone. I personal

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Smartphones with $50+/month data plans are reaching saturation in the US at around 50% of the market. If you're willing to pay for one, you probably have one. Growing the market is going to require new incentives in terms of pricing. A "toll-free" or "zero-rating" system where access is paid for by the destination rather than the source is one possibility. FB with its payment platform is a logical candidate for delivering such a system.

    Imaging paying $300 for a phone and $10/month with your social netwo

  • by sokk (691010) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @11:42AM (#40201707)
    Considering all the technology Facebook has accrued directly and through partners a phone with a lot of nice features should be possible for them to implement. It's also a logical next step. Phones are social nodes in themselves, and mapping the Facebook 'world-in-a-world' onto this should be possible.

    It could even be data-only if they wanted to (wifi/data traffic), but I don't think they would take it that far.

    Technology mapping from the Facebook's technology chest to the mobile:
    Text messaging - Replaced/complemented by Facebook Messenger
    Audio chat - Integrated Skype version
    Video chat - Integrated Skype version (Technology now in the hands of MS/Skype. Apple has shown us that this is feasible)
    Group video chat / audio chat - Integrated Skype version.
    Status of your friends reflected on your phone (Eg. approx. location, busy, last locations visited).
    Contact list - Facebook friends.
  • they should turn it into a platform for electronic payments between people, a Facebook electronic currency. you prepay an amount to Facebook, then you can transfer money between facebook accounts using NFC or barcode scanning.

  • If Facebook wants to invest some of its IPO billions competing with Google in the open source phone market then let it. Ideally, Facebook will compete by making its Linux phone development actually open instead of fake open, and thereby blow past Google in terms of fit and finish and usability, with the help of ten times the developer base and ten times less corporate drone UI design. I don't see any reason why one advertising based tech gorilla should make an open source phone and another not.

    On the other

  • I definitely think Farhad Manjoo is wrong. If Facebook were to make a phone, I'm sure they wouldn't make it ad-heavy. In fact, I think the phone itself would (or should) be close to ad-free and very inexpensive to make it very compelling to use. After all, the more targeted and precise the data the more valuable it becomes. One they put a phone in you're hand, they could get info like: - Who you really are (confirmed ID). - Some of your habits (e.g., where you tend to eat). - The people you tend to s

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