As the rumours begin to be fleshed out with more and more fact, it is becoming increasingly clear that Facebook is involved in the design of a smartphone. Despite 2010’s effort with HTC not appearing to come to fruition very well, it is certainly possible that Facebook could continue its efforts to get a successful start in the hardware market. With the acquisition of Instagram, Facebook might be in a good position to launch their own social media phone. Let’s have a look at some of the challenges Facebook will face in marketing a phone and lets discuss whether as a consumer would you buy a Facebook smartphone or not:
Lack of Experience
Facebook is primarily known as a software designer. There is an incredible amount of detail required to design a smartphone. Delicate circuitry combined with a powered antenna can create certain problems with design, and whether the phone is able to pick up a signal.
Even Apple experienced problems with the ‘grip of death’ design flaw on its iPhone 4 which would lose signal when held in a certain way.
Facebook will have to deal with engineering issues like this and many others to put out a phone that will impress the masses. One thing Facebook does have going for it though, is $16 Billion dollars. With this money Facebook has plenty of capital to buy out a small smartphone producer, such as Research in Motion, which is valued at $6 Billion.
Whether Facebook is capable of designing a really good phone or not may also be irrelevant as it must convince consumers that it has the capability to design something that really works.
Facebook has been involved in a number of well publicized spillages of their customer’s personal information. Furthermore there have been numerous demonstrations of scripting vulnerabilities and code injections into Facebook.
This, coupled with the fact that the essential business model is to match customer data with advertisers means that we have no good reason to want to entrust the design of our smartphone to a marketing firm.
The same essentially applies to Google, the difference being that Google does not have the same track record of security breaches that Facebook has. Facebook will need to do well to reassure many concerned users that their privacy will remain intact with the launch of any smartphone hardware.
Apart from the obvious negatives, there are some very strong positives for Facebook’s intended smartphone. The first of this is that Facebook has an excellent branding. The brand is synonymous with ‘connectedness’ and this puts them in an ideal position to convince us that their phone will allow us to remain better connected than ever.
As mentioned before, their acquisition of Instagram will allow them to launch some exciting concepts regarding the fast and simple sharing of images, and perhaps sooner, video. Personally, the way Facebook would win me over from the other brands, is to launch a smartphone that legitimately has 2 days of battery charge.