Is there really a need for a Facebook phone?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: January 26, 2011

Rumors of a Facebook phone have been circulating for roughly six months now, and even though Zuckerberg tried to put an end to those rumors a while back, they keep on rollin' in. Most of us are affiliated (addicted) to some form of social media whether it be Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most popular and lucrative mediums, so it would only make sense for manufacturers to feed on these poor addicts and manufacturer a Facebook-branded phone, right?

Honestly, I just don't see the point. People have iPhones or Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and webOS smartphones that all have their own Facebook applications. Facebook for Android already has push notifications, fairly decent Messages support, contact sync, Chat, and allows for most functions that you can do from your computer. What more could this Android-powered Facebook phone offer?

My only guess is that your messages could be routed to a universal inbox, Chat could be an application of its own – hopefully a little more stable, though not likely – and your News Feed the same. It might sport a modified UI as well, possibly a blue and white themed Sense UI skin. City A.M.'s report states that it will run “a tweaked version of Google's Android operating system” and display messages and News Feeds directly on your home screen. The report also claims integration that will include being able to call or email Facebook users based on their available information on their profile. Unfortunately, this is already available via Facebook for Android's native contact sync. 

I'm not seeing substantial differences worthy of creating an entirely new phone with modified software. City A.M. says that the phone will “be the first to bear the Facebook branding and colours.” It is also believed that HTC will be the maker of the device and that it will be paralleled with their Nexus One. As promising as this bit seems, I'm still not sold on the idea. If having “Facebook” branded all over a phone isn't enough to turn you away, maybe that bright blue and white is.

Three months ago, Mark Zuckerberg flat out denied the device's existence at the Facebook event. I find it hard to believe that the CEO of the company would completely deny the phone, then turn around and unveil it three months later. Mobile World Congress is right around the corner, and it apparently holds the answers to several different questions we all have. HTC is supposedly going to unveil this uber-social phone during the event. I guess we will see what exactly a “Facebook phone” entails.

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