Last week, Bloomberg reported that Facebook is working with HTC Corporation to build its own smartphone. The phone was initially planned to come out later this year but instead will arrive mid-2013. Citing anonymous sources, they also report that Facebook is developing a modified operating system that will be used for the phone. Additionally, they have hired some former Apple programmers to work on improving the Facebook app for iOS.
Why would Facebook do this? While strong competition certainly benefits consumers in the long run, it’s difficult to figure out why Facebook would want to enter a market dominated by Apple, Google Android, and Microsoft. The primary reason seems to be the growing shift to mobile by Facebook’s users. Facebook had over $3 billion in advertising revenue last year yet none of it came from mobile. Launching its own smartphone might be Facebook’s attempt to remedy that.
What do you think? Is this a good move for Facebook? Does a smartphone that fully integrates social networking interest you or would you rather continue to use the free apps available for iOS and Android?