Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Facebook Phone Home: Social Media Giant to Bring Brand to Smartphones

by Mark J. Miller



More than 425,000 cell phones are decommissioned each day in the United States, but that doesn’t mean people don’t want their phones. In fact, they can’t get enough of them and, even though big global brands including Samsung and Apple eat up a massive part of the global market, there is still plenty of money left over and plenty of companies that would like a piece of that action.
Now you can add Facebook and maybe Amazon to that list.
Last fall, when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was asked for a TV interview if the company was working on a phone, Bezos said, “Stay tuned.” Well, he has just hired Microsoft veteran Charlie Kindel, whose two-decade stint at the company includedworking on Windows Phone.
Kindel noted on his LinkedIn page that he’s working on “something secret” (later changed to "something wonderful") at Amazon, CNBC reports. One suspects it is not a secret fried-chicken recipe, or a voice-enabled Amazon Kindel. "I'm building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon," he informed his LinkedIn network. "I'm hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers, and product managers."
Amazon can play coy all it wants, but Facebook is no longer playing hard to get on the smartphone front.
The social networking behemoth will unveil its new Facebook operating system for Android devices on Thursday, CNBC reports. TechCrunch hears that the Facebook phone announcement involves a budget HTC device with a homescreen Facebook app for all Android devices.
It's no surprise Facebook, which is being challenged by mobile apps, wants to more firmly embed its brand with its avid base of mobile users. More than 680 million people visit Facebook on a mobile device on every month so the company has been trying to find ways to monetize that kind of monster traffic. “Analysts are reserving judgment until they hear the announcement, but the consensus seems to be that the upshot will be positive if Facebook can drive user engagement on mobile devices,” CNBC adds.
Facebook “wants users to spend more time not just with its core social network, but also with its other mobile services, including texting, voice calling, and email,” CNBC reports. “And though it hasn't launched Graph Search yet on mobile devices, it will eventually, and that'll provide another mobile revenue opportunity.”
It remains to be seen, though, if consumers will see Facebook as the source for everything mobile for them or if the social network has already been pigeonholed by consumers to only be used in a certain way.

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