Fork you, Facebook Phone
There has been a heck of a lot of conjecture about Facebook’s coming event on April 4th coined “Come See Our New Home On Android”. You knew it would never happen on April 1st, that’s for sure. Lots of folks are saying that this is actually a “Facebook Phone”. Others are saying that this will be simply a new fork of the Android operating system – something that everyone seems to be doing already. MG Siegler gets into what he thinks constitutes an actual fork of Android, and it makes lots of sense.
And, almost no one is talking about a new Android application that takes over most parts of a user’s phone. When I think of what Facebook wants, it’s your data. They want your address book, they want where you’re going. They want to know what you’re buying. To that end, would it make any sense for them to recreate the wheel on some of this stuff? Have you seen what happened with Apple’s Maps?
If Facebook releases a phone made by, say, HTC, with a completely redesigned end-to-end version of Android, I would be surprised. Even more, I’d be surprised if Facebook actually makes the hardware. If they do this, the danger is that the product becomes very niche and I doubt Facebook wants that.
What I expect is something more like a new Android application that doesn’t replace the current Facebook on Android phones. Perhaps we’ll see two Android Facebook versions, one called “Facebook Lite”, and one called “Facebook All Your Data is Mine”.
We will see on Thursday.
Update: Clearly, there is no Facebook Phone. HTC will make hardware that complements what was announced today. Today’s event featured a new Android launcher app called Facebook Home. The launcher app looks to take over your phone and make it a complete Facebook experience. I’m really not sure why anyone would want that.
@om describes perfectly, the absolute biggest reason not to install this type of application on your phone:
I am seriously concerned about Facebook Home and privacy challenges. They will know when we are sleeping. Where we live. Be careful
— OM (@om) April 4, 2013