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Most companies have expectations that they cannot shake. Some companies, like Apple, have such huge expectations placed on them for new devices, that when something doesn’t launch to match those expectations, the results can be pretty disastrous in comment threads all over the Internet. Facebook is a company that is starting to earn its fair share of expectations, and if you were anywhere near Twitter today you could see how those expectations were met during the company’s press event earlier today. It doesn’t even matter what Facebook announced at face value, because the prime question on everyone’s mind today was a simple, yet oft-repeated one: “Where is the Facebook phone?”

If we’re going to talk about a Facebook phone, we’ve got to take a bit of a trip into the past.

If you were to type in “Facebook phone” into the search box here on PhoneDog, you’d be provided with a nice list of articles written about the unicorn device. The first one dates back to November, 2010, and the title is one that you’ll see repeated quite often in this trip back in time. “Mark Zuckerberg debunks any notion of Facebook phone.” Straight and to the point. Yet, it’s a point that refuses to die, no matter how many times Mark Zuckerberg has to shoot it down. And he’s done it more times than I can count.

But the denials wouldn’t count for much if there weren’t rumors powering the energy-hungry mill. We can see rumors sprout up every once in a while, usually a few times a year, ranging in scope: INQ is making a Facebook phone; HTC is making more than one Facebook phone; and even “Nexus-like” Facebook phones. These rumors have never been substantiated, mind you. However, HTC did create two (three, if you count the AT&T-branded HTC Status as a separate device) Android-powered devices with a dedicated Facebook button, to make posting status messages even easier. The HTC ChaCha and Salsa weren’t smash hits, even with the included Facebook button, but points for effort anyway.

When it comes to rumors, I can’t help but assume the really persistent ones, the ones that just refuse to die are given life, and sustained, due to desire. Meaning, someone, somewhere, really wants that one thing to be real. In more cases than not, a rumor can just be told so many times that people expect it to happen, and then that expectation gets firmly planted on the company. Apple has so many expectations placed on them that I find it hard to believe anyone thinks they could achieve them all, but that doesn’t slow down the effort from those placing those expectations.

As I mentioned earlier, Facebook held a press event today, and the speculation regarding the event was going full-steam ahead before it kicked off. Some thought that the company would be announcing their Messenger app for the iPad. Others assumed any number of other possibilities. And, of course, the rumor of a Facebook phone refused to stay down. Right before Facebook’s event started, I saw several hints on Twitter from journalists there at the event that the theme was certainly mobile-focused.

Turns out, the event wasn’t focused on mobile at all. Or even close. Facebook instead announced their new “Social Graph,” a truly impressive search option for the social network. it works by providing a specialized search bar at the top of your Facebook page (when it launches, for everyone sometime by Spring or Summer of this year), that allows you to use real phrases and not just keywords to find things important to you. You can search for things like, "Greek restaurants in Phoenix that my friends liked," or "Photos of my friends in Japan." As long as everyone tags everything accordingly, the Graph Search really is amazing.

As it stands, though, it isn’t intended for mobile use, and it’s designed entirely around the desktop use case. It didn’t take long for several people on Twitter to start thinking about how it could be used for mobile, though, and many of those ideas were very good.

For example, both Federico Viticci (@viticci, Editor-in-Chief of MacStories.net) and Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie, Editor-in-Chief of iMore) pointed out that Facebook’s new Graph Search, in conjunction with Apple’s Siri and Voice Search, could make a potentially awesome combination. Asking Siri to find friends in your city, or a city you’re visiting, could be made possible with Facebook’s Graph Search, for example.

Unfortunately, Graph Search isn’t for mobile right now. But it is coming, as confirmed by Zuckerberg himself at the event.

Which could lead some people to wonder: What exactly is Facebook waiting for? With the money that Facebook has, and the outreach they have through manufacturers of smartphones, it would seem perfectly plausible that Facebook could, if they really wanted to, create a Facebook phone. The reason they haven’t, and maybe never will? They don’t have to. It’s that simple. They create these things, like Graph Search, and eventually build it for mobile use, and then incorporate it into other platforms. Like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, even Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

That support, which is already in place from these major companies, is what Facebook needs to succeed in the mobile industry, so they simply don’t have a reason to “strike out on their own” and create their own hardware, or their own software. The company’s focus on software and features is what keeps them going strong, especially since I know quite a few people who never, ever visit the Desktop Facebook site. (I’m sure you can find people you know who don’t, either.)

Will the rumor of a Facebook phone ever die? Probably not. Will the company ever create a true Facebook phone? Who knows? Nothing is impossible. It doesn’t matter how many times Zuckerberg or someone else denies the existence of a Facebook phone – anything can change, if given the right circumstances. But if Facebook continues to provide features for other mobile platforms that people want, I don’t see a point for a “real” Facebook phone to exist.

What do you think? Should Facebook create their own phone, even if it were to mean they’d sacrifice their momentum with other mobile platforms and companies? Or should the company keep their focus right where it is, and we can all hope these rumors fade away into the dark and never resurface? Let me know.


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Comments & discussions  

42 Reactions to this post

"Will there ever actually be a Facebook Phone?"


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Anonymous
Anonymous I hope not. That seems like a waste of time.
Jesse Ling
Jesse Ling nobody needs a facebook phone.
Curtis Owens
Curtis Owens hope not, it wouldnt be able to get anything right.
Ibnul Sharar
Ibnul Sharar Nobody will ever need that. It would be better if facebook improves the Fb app of android.-_-
Jeff Seaver
Jeff Seaver No No No
Steven Pereira
Steven Pereira Why in the world would anyone want a Facebook phone? What a bleeping waste of time.
Erik Rosli
Erik Rosli Facebook phone? Remember HTC Cha cha and Salsa? Epicly forgotten.
Aaron Calhoun
Aaron Calhoun Such a stupid idea.
Ca Martin
Ca Martin They can't get there mobile app right for android!!! Phone Lol!!!!
Shin Wolf
Shin Wolf Fb phone??? Another epic fail....! FLOP..!
Jeff Griffith
Jeff Griffith Nick Catelli, that's a great point! Lol
Nick Catelli
Nick Catelli If it's anything like the quality of their mobile app, I pray to God that there isn't...
Anthony V Cannata
Anthony V Cannata we don't need a facebook phone I have an app for that
James Dini
James Dini Having a Facebook App is more than enough for anyone, this would be borderline insane.
Lim Xilvre
Lim Xilvre Outside there already have smartphone with Facebook dedicated button, a FB phone? only to check news feed, create group? viewing and clicking LIKE? internet phone? skype? if you try to create an FB phone using ANDROID os, it was just hiding people's shadow.. FACEBOOK OS? also can if you intend to develop it to join in upcoming battle firefox os, tizen os, ios andoid os, windows 8... is ok, join in have fun
Julo Konnen
Julo Konnen BIG NO
Chris May
Chris May Who cares????
Kevin Post
Kevin Post There is already a Facebook phone, it is windows phone. Al built in.
Juan Carlos Munoz
Juan Carlos Munoz God i hope not. Suckerberg does not need anymore money!
Elijah Ford
Elijah Ford I don't see the point of a FB phone!!!!!.
Patrick Shirley
Patrick Shirley They did make a few and it failed miserably
John H. Foote
John H. Foote waiting for an operating system? No way from scratch.
Erik Jordan
Erik Jordan If anyone feels the need to be more socially integrated than what the facebook (and twitter) app already provides then they have other issues. No one needs an entire phone focused around updating your status...
Kristoff Lewandowski
Kristoff Lewandowski What for?
Timothy D Alston
Timothy D Alston Don't need it. Any smartphone you have can get to Facebook with just a tap. Unless it's free I wouldn't waste my money
Kevin Collazo
Kevin Collazo There is zero need or demand for a FaceBook phone. They are making millions upon millions of dollars by having their app integrated into just about every platform of smartphone. The HTC status is as close to one as there will ever need to be.
Josh Hutton
Josh Hutton They tried that already and it didn't work. A hard wired dedicated Facebook button wasn't popular. My iPhone ready has a dedicated Facebook button. It's there when I need it.
Sri Harsha
Sri Harsha what is facebook phone? A phone with facebook app pre-installed??
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Why would anyone want a Facebook phone?
Ankit Narang
Ankit Narang Why can't the world get over "Facebook Phone" concept?
Roberto Baños Lozano
Roberto Baños Lozano WTF!!!!
LaTroy Applewhite
LaTroy Applewhite They don't need to do it.....
Adeeb Othman
Adeeb Othman what's it gonna have a special theme or moving one or fb ringtone or free log in or what there is no need to one such like this phone
Johannes Riitijoki
Johannes Riitijoki Hopefully not.
Jei Gutierrez
Jei Gutierrez facebook phone? how about twitter phone?
Tyler Saddington
Tyler Saddington I hope to god that there is not!
Paul Keefe
Paul Keefe Let's hope not
Tyler Shoulders
Tyler Shoulders Wasn't the HTC status a Facebook phone?
Darren Polak
Darren Polak Htc made at least 2 a few yrs back..
Keith Win
Keith Win there is no need for one
Alex Gtx Castro
Alex Gtx Castro they already do wtf lol
Dani Hayes
Dani Hayes No




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