Speculations of a new "Facebook Phone" resurface with news this week, stemming from an e-flyer posted by Facebook inviting users to a press release event on April 4th. The flyer reads, "Come see our new home on Android, Thursday, April 4, 2013," which implicates that Facebook has decided to make its roots a little deeper and its branches a little wider inside the Google native platform - presumably housed in an HTC device. Could this announcement mean yet another attempt at creating a smartphone that focuses primarily on Facebook integration?
Yes, you read that right. I did say "yet another". Remember the HTC Status? No? That's alright, you're not alone.
The HTC Status was an appropriately named smartphone that ran on Android with a strong emphasis on Facebook. The design of the phone left much to be desired, and if you ask me it looked like a reject Blackberry device. The entire device was primarily aimed at tweens and teens as a means to constantly connect to your friends all the time without ever actually having to open the Facebook app to do so with the use of a dedicated Facebook button. The HTC Status was a decent phone for Facebook junkies, not so great of a phone for somebody who wanted a finer Android experience.
The Status wasn't the first attempt at turning a major social networking platform into a smartphone, either. There was also the strange and confusing attempt from Helio, which refused to be known as a phone company or a phone with its signature slogan, "Don't Call Us a Phone Company; Don't Call it a Phone." Unfortunately, around the same time Helio was launched so was Facebook and the swift descent of Myspace began, and inevitably making it so that Helio never really took off.
So now we're here. It's 2013 and Facebook is still going strong with the intent of going even stronger. Although they've already had one attempt at creating the ideal "Facebook Phone"; it seems they're not giving up just yet and may be having another go. Many speculate with this news that Facebook created their own heavily skinned version of Android, making almost everything that comes stock on the phone easily integrated with Facebook by using data from your phone (SMS, phone calls, etc.) to give you the updates on people you care about the most.
Aside from the fact that people are already skeptical about the data being shared with companies from their phones, I kind of hope that's not the direction Facebook intends to go if they make devices like that. I feel like Facebook already took a turn for the worst by deciding whose statuses and photos I want to see for me. I had a friends list for a reason; if I didn't want to see their stuff I could hide their posts or unfriend them. Oh look, Susan posted another status about something I didn't like. I guess it's time to hide her statuses for a while. Click. Wow, that was hard work. I think I deserve a lemonade for such a physically demanding task. Come on, Facebook, give us a little credit. There are some things we can do ourselves.
But that's jumping the gun a bit. For all we know Facebook is just going to make a more convenient native app for Android. I feel like they did a great job with iOS, and Android has gotten better but it could certainly use some work. While Facebook might feel like they're ready for a smartphone that directly emphasizes heavy Facebook integration, I feel like they still need to work on their own interface before jumping into something like an entire smartphone based around it. Not to mention I think that a smartphone based around any social network has already missed its calling.
Smartphones are too advanced now, and they're expected to do too many things. Also, most people who are an avid member of one social networking community are probably part of one or two others as well. For the people who are part of multiple social networks, it makes a lot less sense to invest in a phone that really only caters to one. I'm sure there would still be some support for other sites like Twitter and of course Google+ (being on an Android platform and all) but it would be a lot easier to access all three networking sites equally on a phone that doesn't lean one way or the other.
Readers, how would you feel if it turns out that Facebook decided to make another attempt at a "Facebook Phone"? Would you be interested in purchasing one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!