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Sep 20 / Brian Grey

Facebook’s Mobile Phone — A Good Idea

Apparently the rumors are flying around that Facebook is next in line to roll out their own branded mobile phone.  Per usual, Techcrunch is out front with the info that Facebook is working on the software (not the hardware, nobody takes that on these days) to power a mobile device that would give iPhone and all those Android wannabes a run for their money.

Now we’ve heard this story before.  Big brand thinks they can go direct to consumer, bypass the mobile Carriers (e.g. Verizon et al) and become the gatekeeper to all revenues that flow in from said consumers.  Well, turns out it’s a little harder than that — just ask ESPN, Google or even the well funded upstarts Amp’d Mobile and Boost Mobile.  So why in the world would Facebook even have a chance to pull it off?

Couple reasons…or say 500 million reasons to start.

Talk about an amazing low cost promotional platform to upsell from, Facebook just has to get every marketer’s favorite “1%” conversion and all of a sudden they’re in the game.  Then there’s the not so small fact that a whole generation of digital users have shunned traditional email accounts for the Facebook inbox.  If this batch of Internet users is fine with the FB stream, wall and inbox as their communication threads, then a Facebook mobile phone will feel like an obvious extension.

And then of course there’s the insatiable appetite that marketers have to get social and be on the Facebook platform.  Imagine how Facebook can leverage this influence to pump out all kinds of co-marketing, cross-marketing deals with big brands to push the FB phone while at the same time seeding the FB Mobile Ad Network.  AdMob and Quattro what?Ok, so the Facebook phone seems like it’s got a real shot, even if it’s not officially on the Facebook “to do” list.  Now how long until we get the specifications for the Twitter mobile phone?