The company will make its biggest leap yet in that direction Thursday, when it is expected to introduce a moderately priced phone, made by HTC, powered by Google’s Android operating system, and tweaked to showcase Facebook and its apps on the home screen. The Facebook phone adheres to two crucial product announcements in the last three months: A new search tool that encourages users to use their Facebook friend network to seek out everything from restaurants to running trails, and a news feed remade for mobile devices.
Facebook’s hopes in creating a phone are to be able to reach other countries where they are not able to reach as much. Brazil and India are home to the largest blocs of Facebook users after the United States, and their numbers are growing significantly as Smartphone users increases in those countries. But Facebook makes little money in advertising in these countries. The more people use Facebook on their phones, the more ads that can be delivered.
Facebook made a little more than $4 a user in North America and $1.71 in Europe, but barely more than 50 cents in the rest of the world, including large markets like Brazil and India. With this new phone they will be able to increase their advertising revenue significantly.
But the big underlying question is whether or not many people are going to switch phones and whether or not it will affect Apple’s sales. Although, Facebook may be a popular reason as to why get a Smartphone in the first place, people tend to stick with what they know regardless of the popularity of Facebook. Jason Dodson a graduate student at the University of Portland, says he won’t be switching, “Don’t get me wrong it sounds pretty neat, but my Iphone already has Facebook that’s really all I need it for is an app. If I want to find restaurants I can just look on Yelp or something.” Dodson believes that the phone doesn’t seem like a great innovation enough for him to go out of his way to obtain it, as does another student, Hannah Alessio, a student nurse at the University. Alessio believes that the new phone to her seems like a scam to use Facebook’s popularity and further addict people to technology and their cell phones. “It’s probably just going to make people more obsessed with their phones. If the phone is centered on only Facebook it’s just going to give people an excuse to keep looking at it and stop interacting in the real world.” Alessio’s concern is more of the lack of importance of this new phone, “it’s just not significant, yeah Facebook is cool but how is it any different.” The possibility that the phone will see significant changes in North America is pretty low, but it is other countries that Facebook is after. These thoughts are a few of many that will be following the release of the new Facebook phone, but only time will tell whether or not this new phone will succeed or fail.