Facebook is hosting the press today at its Menlo Park HQ for what is said to be an exciting new product. There is almost next to nothing known about what the announcement would be about, though it is expected to revolve around mobile. Could it be the long-awaited Facebook Phone? Or a Facebook OS? Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities. Also Read - Facebook Messenger becomes third non-Google app to garner five billion downloads on Play StoreAlso Read - Facebook to soon allow Messenger users to directly chat with WhatsApp users on the platform
Facebook Phone: Mark Zuckerberg has previously denied any interest in developing a Facebook Phone but there have been enough indications in the past about the company’s Project Buffy as well as its hiring of hardware engineers from Apple. Facebook is rumored to be working with HTC on that product and the timeline of earlier leaks match well with the announcement date. Also Read - WhatsApp: Over 1.4 billion video and voice calls made on New Year's Eve globally
Facebook OS: Launching its own smartphones might not make a lot of sense considering Facebook is already doing very well with its suite of apps running on Android and iOS, the two dominant smartphone platforms. However, it could do well by launching an operating system coupled with some OEM partnerships to target the feature phone/entry-level smartphone segment for emerging markets. Facebook’s next major chunk of subscribers would come from countries like India, Brazil and others.
Facebook Search: What Facebook really misses right now is a good search tool from where users can not only find other users but also content posted on the social network. This could have a great potential not just for Facebook users but for the company itself and its stock price. Facebook’s Google envy is well known and this could be a killer move for it to go beyond being just a social network.
Facebook on tablets/Messenger evolution: While announcing one of Facebook’s mobile products Zuckerberg famously said that he does not consider the iPad as a mobile device. Even today, Facebook does not have anything beyond the stock Facebook app for tablets unlike the whole suite of apps for smartphones. This could change today if Facebook announces apps, especially Messenger, for tablets and add more features to it on both smartphones and tablets to make it a cross-platform iMessage like service with text, voice and video chat integration.
Facebook ads: Or today’s announcement could be completely unrelated to end-users and Facebook could announce new things related to ads on the network. A Google-like live bidding on keywords?
Whatever it is, we will come to know about it in the next four hours or so. Facebook’s event starts at 11:30 PM IST.