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Facebook is secretly building a phone. That's what TechCrunch suggests two days ago in an article.
* Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project.
Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too.
* Specifically, Facebook wants to integrate deeply into the contacts list and other core functions of the phone. It can only do that if it controls the operating system.
* I’d imagine Facebook wanting these things to get into as many hands as possible, so I’d expect a model at a less than $50 price. Pay your bill with Facebook Credits. Etc.
* Or who knows, the whole project might get killed before it sees light. All we know for sure is that Hewitt and Papakipos are working on something very stealthy together. And we have a source that tells us that stealthy thing is a Facebook phone.
These are interesting thoughts and developments which, if we think about a complete Facebook ecosystem, the missing screen in it is: TV.
Is Facebook the company that can power up the concept of Social TV?
Facebook has something all the other competitors don't have, or at least not in this magnitude: Users.
Secondly, Facebook powers a need and demand of these users: Interaction, sharing, networking, friends and so on.
Thirdly, devices are more and more used to suffice these needs and demands, the Phone is just one device that perfectly fits this. The computer and its Social Web is the proven basis and result of these needs/evolution.
Where does Facebook fit in the Social TV space?
It's all about the basis, namely users and interaction.
Social TV space can be offered lean-in and lean-back experiences via Facebook's fundament for entertainment or other purposes.
Creating a holistic and Facebook driven digital social life is theoretically possible, and with a phone a step closer to becoming reality.
* Why not look at something that is shared on the go (mobile) on the TV screen (entertainment perhaps).
* Why not video-call with your network on TV, which creates a friendly and cosy sphere. Think of Skype TV, but then on steroids.
* Why not integrating Social Graph into the TV content.
* Why not transferring the social/sharing possibilities to the TV content.
Any content that is consumed, be it on the phone, on TV, on the laptop or iPad, is shared or published via Facebook.
One platform, one network on any device.
A truely parallel digital life powered by Facebook.
What should Facebook TV be?
Maybe a set-top-box (integrated or not in the TV) or a TV itself, where Facebook is fully integrated in.
Can it compete with Google TV, Apple TV and other competitors?
Definately, being the platform that sustains ones digital life is a starting point that hardly anyone else has.
Apple has the chance to do this via Ping, its music social network in a vertical/niche proposition.
Like the phone, it should be a low end TV device, being able to penetrate as much as possible in the living rooms.
This doesn't matter, because ancillary revenue -generated and driven by Facebook Credits- will account for the biggest share of the revenue.
Also other revenue streams will grow, think of Social Search via Facebook's ads. More screens means more time spent on the network means more purposes fulfiled by it.
Facebook TV a possible Reality?
Who knows, it would implicate a deep integration in the TV industry and a further parallelization of Facebook's present scope.
But Facebook is a company to keep in mind in this converging industry, as an underdog without to much pressure in this segment, they could come up with some innovative additions!