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ernard
May 09, 2013

Is the Facebook phone a failure?

I saw the new Facebook phone already on sale for $0.99, a 99% discount in its price just a month after its release. Does this indicate that this concept of branded hardware tied to a company has already failed? I wonder if this could be the "high water mark" of single source social media, i.e. facebook, and an indication that people are only willing to surrender so much of their public/private life to one company.

jimlynch
05/10/2013
I think it was dead on arrival. Who in their right mind would want to use a "facebook phone?" It's such a stupid idea, I think Facebook was kidding themselves when they released it. Don't they have anything better to do with their time than wish they were Apple?
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stylor
05/10/2013

My first thought was to disagree with your presumption about lack of willingness of people to surrender near total information about themselves by pointing to Google and/or Apple. However, the more I thought about it, the more flaws I saw in my comparison of those companies to Facebook. Facebook has very limited offerings compared to Apple/Google; despite their best efforts to become more, Facebook remains almost solely a social network. Apple and Google bring so many other services to the game (music, video, utilities, cloud storage, etc.). Plus, it is already easy to access Facebook on any brand of smartphone, so really, why would anyone pay a premium for it. 

 

Also, this probably impacts HTC more than it does Facebook.  Despite making some great phones, HTC is not doing very well, and having a fairly high profile product tank (even one that is essentially just their midrange phone) doesn't help the company's bottom line. In fact, having the phone $0.99 could benefit Facebook, as it would likely make people more willing to pick up a decent phone for next to nothing up front. 

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Christopher Nerney
05/10/2013
I do suspect the Facebook phone is bombing, and I'm not surprised. The mobile device market is tough to crack. Not sure it has any larger meaning regarding branded hardware.

As far as what people are willing to surrender to one company, keep an eye on Google. It wants you to use its search, YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Google Apps and a bunch of other things. Further, Google is really good at making it very easy for you to stay on its platform. Some people can't resist that convenience.
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