Do We Really Need a Facebook Phone?


This was a bumper week for every body’s favorite social networking site, Facebook. For one, there was that nasty hours-long outage that left many a crop-growing FarmVille fundi raging catatonic at the prospect that their crops might just die out because they couldn’t access the site.

Then there was the little business about the Facebook Phone: is it an actual mobile phone set to compete with iPhone and BlackBerry, a new mobile operating system with “social” embedded in its core DNA, a set of new apps to link Facebook data with your mobile experience, or none of the above? In fact, what the Zuckerberg is this thing everyone’s been talking about?!

Well, a lengthy transcript of an interview between TechCrunch editor Mike Arrington proved that, no, Facebook is not interested in manufacturing a mobile phone under its branding. Neither is it developing its own operating system.

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Essentially, the central idea to the company, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to make everything social. We’ve seen this business plan effective especially this year with the Social Graph API announcements and Facebook Connect.

What really is happening is that a small mobile phone developer, INQ, who has previously built touch-screen phones with Facebook integration, is currently developing a new Facebook phone with integration to the social site.

Idea like this on the onset do sound captivating. Imagine switching on your mobile, logging in once with your Facebook account, and being able to instantly access all your social networks from one place; a sort of Facebook Connect for your mobile phone. And as the whole world is going mobile, this sounds like a good idea.

But the real question is, do we need a “Facebook Phone”?

I, for one, am quite happy with my BlackBerry. Having an omniscient system in place — a sandbox — that I can add and remove apps from at my own will, and essentially choose my online social life, is far better than being force-fed the Facebook Kool-Aid. Sure, if you’re a die hard Facebook fan the prospect of carrying the social network’s phone with you would be great.

I just find that, as it currently is, Facebook is doing great, and this is not the time for them to be side-tracked by smaller projects like a mobile phone that could deter the fundamental user experience of the core site. In other words, stick to what you know best, and build on that success.

What’s your take on this? Would you buy a Facebook Phone if it ever released? Let us know in the comments section!

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