Mark Zuckerberg’s Thoughts On Facebook Phone, iPad
During the Facebook event revolving around the social networking experience on mobile phones, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a lot to say about the rumored “Facebook phone” as well as Apple’s iPad. Both statements proved interesting and to the point. First of all let’s do a little background on this. Some rumors started spreading on the internet suggesting that the leading social networking company might be interested in building and selling a mobile phone. Allegedly, Facebook would be working on the software side of the phone while a third-party company would take care of building the actual hardware.
So far this seemed extremely plausible. That’s because multiple other companies have taken this approach or at least tried in one way or another to gain more power on the smartphone market. Google chose to build a smartphone aside from the Android operating system that’s now used on a wide variety of devices. Microsoft, on the other hand, chose to stick to its identity (a software company to the core) and only released Windows Phone 7, a newly introduced operating system. But if you stop to think about it, the company collaborated with multiple manufacturers to release a large series of devices. You could call those Microsoft phones, sort of. Apple, a computer maker, was the one who started all this smartphone fun we’re currently witnessing. The bottom line is that most companies are taking more of an interest in mobile users and trying to offer something. We were quite curious what Facebook would attempt to offer and whether a Facebook-branded phone would eventually hit the market.
Mark Zuckerberg came out and denied these rumors, stating time and time again that such a phone will not exist. Of course, we’ve heard similar statements before and proved reluctant to believe them. This time Facebook’s CEO came up with a set of arguments against a Facebook phone and I’ll have to admit that they’re extremely convincing. As Mashable reports, the exec said: “First of all, we’re not a hardware company.” Then he carried on to explain that the company’s goal isn’t to sell something physical, but to make it so that anything can be more social.
Ok, so we’ve heard this before, the denying of the handset. But what changed in this case is that Zuckerberg took the time to explain why a phone would be a bad idea, and we must admit he’s quite right. “It would be pretty silly for us to go after a strategy that focused on selling a small number of phones,” he said. The first reason for this is that if the company were to build a phone, it could only take over a small percentage of the phone market. Even if roughly 10 or 20 million units were sold, this still doesn’t mean much when taking into account rivals like Apple and the whole slew of Android smartphones baring different brands. Secondly, this type of strategy would mean that Facebook might end up alienating the partners it needs to make mobile devices more social. In other words, it’s much better to work on deeper and deeper integrations and cover as many phones and platforms as possible, than focus on hardware and limit yourself to a relatively small user base. We can’t argue with this, the reasoning is quite good and probably why Facebook became so popular in the first place.
Zuckerberg also mentioned what the company is currently up to. He gave Single Sign-on as an example of offering deeper Facebook integration to smartphones you can currently find on the market. On top of that, Facebook’s integration on Windows Phone 7 was also given as an example because it was not build by the company itself, but a third party company, Microsoft. At the end of the comment Facebook’s CEO mentioned yet again that there are no plans to sell hardware. “That’s just not what we do” he said. He added that it’s really damaging for the company that the rumor is out because some of the companies that are currently partnering with Facebook might believe the speculation and realize that they might be competitors.
Finally, Zuckerberg’s opinion on the iPad brought forth a lot of comments as well. When asked whether Facebook would release an app for Apple’s tablet, the CEO mentioned that the iPad is not mobile, it’s a computer. Wait, what? Some people were obviously quite entertained by this remark. But Zuckerberg and Facebook’s mobile VP Erik Tseng took the time to explain what this was supposed to mean.
Tseng mentioned that the social network is still considering what approach and strategy to adopt for tablet devices because they come in a new form factor and offer different benefits. Facebook’s CEO then added that he doesn’t believe the iPad is in the same class as the iPhone or Android smartphones. “We all love Apple products, the iPad just isn’t mobile in the same way” he said. It’s quite true, the iPad offers a considerably larger screen, is getting closer to being a computer than a plain smartphone and it’s harder to hold it in your pocket and take it along wherever it is you’re going.
The sad part is that we won’t get to see a Facebook app for the iPad in the next period of time. Until then the site will be accessible through the official website or touch.facebook.com. Do expect an app optimized for tablets in the future though as it seems that the company is interested in maximizing the experience for this type of device.11