Social media giant Facebook has sent out invites to a new event next week, likely the unveiling of the company's much-rumored smartphone. A broad hint suggests the device will be a modified Android running some clever Facebook-centric features.
Facebook Getting Into Hardware
On 4 April, Facebook is having a major press event, with the world expecting to see the Facebook smartphone finally revealed. Rather than go out on a costly limb and build a new device and OS, it seems Facebook will partner with a major phone builder, likely HTC, to produce a modified Android device.
The invite tag, “Come See Our New Home On Android” pretty much gives that away, but the key tipping point will be down to what Facebook can offer as exclusive or extra features that will attract the site's massive user base.
If Facebook's phone makes using the social media service more than just a couple of apps strung together, then we could be in for something special. Instant or automated posting, live links between friends at an event and other innovations could create something that gives the phone a unique edge.
Do You Believe in Facebook?
However, with Facebook collecting enough information on us already, would users really like to see the service tracking your location and movements 24-hours a day? The potential is there from any app, but a whole phone linked to your social network, with privacy advocates watching any advance in tracking from Facebook, Google and others very carefully.
The company must be confident in its massive reach to create a market for the phone, with the recent Facebook-sponsored IDC survey showing its massive edge in all things connected and social. That's despite recent user privacy upsets, adverts flooding our timelines and other issues.
We'll cover the news from the event, but mobile and social could be about to move into new and uncharted territory, or this could be a relatively simple marketing and branding exercise, that call fall flat as users are happy with Facebook apps on their existing devices.
Certainly, it will add an interesting dimension to the battle between the new Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry's Z10, Apple's next iPhone/watch/games machine and the many other devices scrapping for user attention.