Facebook announced its first-ever quarterly earnings after its IPO with $1.18billion revenues, which was on expected lines. The biggest thing on everyone’s mind, however, was Facebook’s mobile strategy, which now accounts for more than half of Facebook’s user traffic. Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the earnings call with his opening remarks focused on mobile and how it was more important than ever for his company to get its mobile apps right and start generating revenues. Of the social network’s 955 million monthly active users, over 543 million accessed the social network on their mobile phones. What’s more, users who accessed Facebook from their phones tend to be 20 percent more active than PC users. With such statistics, one would think it logical for Facebook to build its own phone, right? Well, it turns out that building a Facebook Phone “doesn’t make much sense” to CEO Zuckerberg. Read on. Also Read - Facebook reportedly working on a modular smartphoneAlso Read - Facebook is working on a Truecaller rival, called simply as “Phone”
“We want to not just have apps that people use but also be kind of deeply integrated into the systems as possible. We want to support a development ecosystem, where other apps can build on top of Facebook. So that’s why you’ll see us do things like support Apple in the iOS integration that they wanted to do. There are a lot of things that you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really taking – that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which I think wouldn’t really make much sense for us to do,” Zuckerberg said while answering a question related to building the Facebook Phone. Also Read - Facebook Home Android UI images leak ahead of launch
It would be naive to take Zuckerberg on face value here as executives are known to say one thing and do exactly the opposite. Remember how Google’s Eric Schmidt first said their won’t be a Nexus Two (after the Nexus One) and then launched the Nexus S? Or how Steve Jobs did a complete turn-around when it came to having cameras on the iPad?
Zuckerberg’s statement doesn’t rule out the possibility of helping an OEM, like HTC, to build a phone with deeper Facebook integration than current Android smartphones. After all, his vision is to see Facebook as a platform that powers other apps and services rather than being just a social network. The groundwork has been laid with deeper Facebook integration in iOS where users will be able to log into certain Facebook-integrated apps directly without having to create new accounts or input login information.
“We’re investing very heavily in improving our mobile apps, primarily across iOS, Android and the mobile Web. This involves building out world-class teams with competencies in different technical stacks, making significant investments in improving the technical foundation of our apps and designing new products and integrating into these mobile systems as deeply as we can,” he said during his opening remarks.
This validates the earlier NYT report about Facebook hiring engineers from Apple and it would be hard to think they would stop at just creating better apps. Like Zuckerberg said, one of the tasks is to integrate Facebook “into these mobile systems as deeply as we can,” which sounds to us very much like what has been talked about this Facebook Phone that would be manufactured by HTC.
Just think about it. It could be a smartphone using a forked Android operating system where users log in using their Facebook credentials instead of Google’s. Facebook has already developed an App Center for integrated apps, it has a mail and messenger service, a new camera app that could be combined with Instagram once the acquisition is complete and it already has most of your contacts. The only non-Facebook element in the scheme of things would be HTC manufacturing it and not Facebook. Sounds like a pretty good phone to us!