Built primarily for the desktop since its inception, Facebook is now jumping hard and quickly on to the mobile bandwagon — which happens to be its weakest spot. From a slow and buggy smartphone app to a small and fiddly browsing experience of its website.
Even though a Facebook phone has been rumored to be in development since 2010, code-named Buffy (yes, like the Vampire slayer), rumors are once again resurfacing that the Facebook phone is being developed to be released next year. Its plan is to build its own mobile platform on top of Android — one that would support HTML5 as a platform for applications and is developing the phone hardware in conjunction with Taiwanese handset maker, HTC.
Its intention to purchase Instagram (a mobile photo sharing app in a deal which has yet to close) for $1 billion and then releasing a similar app called Facebook Camera (also a mobile photo sharing app) recently shows just how urgent Facebook views the mobile segment. Great! Now, all Facebook needs is a phone (check!) and hmmmm….a browser.
Strong rumors are also emerging that Facebook is looking to purchase Opera — a Norway browser company with around 200 million users.
If all of the above combined is not a serious push into the mobile realm, then we don’t know what is!
Really, now all that is missing here in this mobile puzzle is an operating system so stay tuned.
It does definitely show that as a public company now, Facebook has to really develop new sources of revenue and mobile is the perfect place to do it as users spend more time networking and communicating via multiple channels on phones or tablets instead of laptops or desktops.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out especially with the development of the Facebook phone. Mobile hardware is a fiercely competitive area with notoriously low profit margins.
In related news, Google recently completed is acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Apparently there seems to be no stopping Facebook from its acquisitions and development towards its mobile focused strategy as well.