What’s better than one Facebook phone? Two Facebook phones, it seems… Despite denials from the social networking business, it seems talks continue and Facebook-branded phones will soon make a landing. Both of them.
Bloomberg has reported that INQ Mobile has two models on order by Facebook for a first-half of 2011 launch. The outfit quotes two different sources who asked to remain anonymous, as plans for the launch have not yet been made official. The report further states that over a quarter of Facebook’s 500 million users already access it from a mobile device.
Facebook and INQ Mobile’s fortunes are intertwined to a certain extent, as mobile operator Hutchison Wampoa, from Hong Kong, who owns INQ Mobile also owns an equity stake in Facebook.
The phones were described in oh-so-vague terms by the snitches: the first one is to carry a QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen, while the second would go full-blown touchscreen. Considering the prices of QWERTY phones these days it should be fairly easy to market such a device, even if you don’t have retail outlets of your own.
INQ Mobile, however, has made a name for itself here in the UK by filling its phones up to the neck with all sorts of social networking features, something a Facebook-branded platform might be deprived of. This does raise the question whether people are active on just one single social network or do they absolutely need to update their status on every single network every other minute, and whether they’ll like this sort of proposal.
While moderately vague, the report is sometimes very detailed: Facebook’s plan for mobile domination will begin in the first half of 2011, in Europe, of all places (where the market is fragmented, residents speak 50+ languages and dozens of operators, er, operate) and it would follow suit in the second half of 2011 with a US launch by the able denizens of AT&T.
The irony is that it would be something perfectly natural for Facebook to do, although one could argue that any venture like this is dangerous if the proper people and knowledge aren’t in place… just look at Microsoft.
Facebook has the power to carve out its own territory at the expense of other brand names due to its quasi-fanatical cult following. We don’t see why they wouldn’t do it, considering other faiths have made money from analogous activities in the past.