Facebook phone rumors explode after Android event announced
April 4 Facebook media event has experts expecting -- again -- that the social networking firm will unveil an Android smartphone
Computerworld - Talk that Facebook is developing its own smartphone is spreading again.
Speculation about Facebook's hardware plans exploded yet again after the company late Thursday invited reporters to a press event on April 4 at its offices in Menlo Park, Calif.
The invitation reads: "Come See Our New Home on Android."
Not long after the invitations were sent, several news sites have speculated that Facebook is developing an Android-based smartphone.
The stories mark the latest round of rampant speculation that Facebook may be diving into the hardware business.
The speculation comes despite past proclamations by Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the social networking company has no plans to sell smartphones. "The phone just doesn't make any sense," Zuckerberg said at a conference last September.
Zuckerberg repeatedly said he couldn't emphasize it enough that there will be no Facebook phone.
"That's always been the wrong strategy for us," he said in September. "We'll have 950 million users soon. Let's say we built a phone, theoretically -- we're not -- but we get 10 million people to use it. That doesn't move the needle for us. The phone just doesn't make any sense."
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said he's not putting much, if any, stock into Zuckerberg's denials.
"Is there a rule that business leaders have to tell the truth?" he asked. "When [Apple's Steve] Jobs spoke, the more emphatic he was, the more I knew he would do the opposite. Heck, it might even have been true at the time."
Gottheil said it would make sense for Facebook to try its hand at hardware, despite the fact that it's out of the company's comfort zone and is already a highly competitive business.
"A phone, even an Android phone, makes sense," Gottheil said. "Facebook, like Google, is a major beneficiary of the mobile revolution. To have a device that sort of points you toward Facebook makes sense. Getting involved in handsets makes sense, too."
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said Facebook doesn't need to offer a hand-held phone. The company could simply build VoIP services into Facebook that would enable voice and video conferencing.
"They could build a dedicated voice app based on Android first," he said. "It would be similar to the Messenger app. Think about it. With a voice app or service right in Facebook, you would have a list of users who are online and have voice capabilities. If I want to call one of them, just tap a button and it creates a VoIP call."
Kerravala said he could envision a service or app that enables Facebook users to call or video chat with their friends and generate significant business for the company. "People spend more time in Facebook than any other application, so I can see it being very popular," he noted.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
- What to expect in Facebook's earnings call today
- Could you quit Facebook for 99 days?
- Facebook is a school yard bully that's going down
- EPIC says Facebook 'messed with people's minds,' seeks FTC sanctions
- 7 things you need to know about Facebook's mood experiment
- Facebook emotional manipulation test turns users into 'lab rats'
- Facebook tries to stop Snapchat drain with Slingshot
- TMI! Facebook moves to stop over-sharing
- Inside Facebook's brilliant plan to hog your data
- Facebook shows mobile app developers the money with new ad network
Read more about Smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.
- Tips for Driving User Adoption in New Technology Deployment Read this checklist on tips for driving user adoption to see where you stand.
- Improving IT Efficiencies: Four Advantages of Multi-Tenant Data Centers Increasing demands on IT are forcing organizations to rethink their data center options. For many organizations, that means turning to the flexibility afforded...
- Accelerating Cloud Deployment and Operations with Managed Services Companies that do not have sufficient in-house expertise to either deploy or maintain an IaaS cloud should turn to Managed Service Providers .
- Rethinking IT Operations in the Cloud This paper breaks down the challenges that often prevent the cloud from delivering the fast, flexible and affordable infrastructure companies seek - and...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!