Facebook Phone?

By Gary Kim April 01, 2013

Whether a “Facebook” phone, or something like it, will soon be available remains a bit of a mystery. What is perhaps a more important question is how much such a device, optimized for Facebook, might affect end-user perception of the value of carrier-provided voice and messaging, assuming the Facebook phone supports full user-to-user voice and messaging, directly from the phone.

The fact that any future device using a Facebook operating system (perhaps a customized version of Android, as Amazon did for its Kindle) would use the mobile phone network and the Internet, illustrates the blurring line between the “Internet” and the “telephone network.”

On the other hand, any Facebook phone would also illustrate a similar principle at work in both the Internet application and traditional telecom businesses – namely the attempt to gain business advantage in a “closed” environment.

In a sense, a Facebook phone featuring over-the-top messaging and voice would be similar, in market impact, to Skype or WhatsApp – competing with “for fee” carrier voice and text messaging services.

But any such Facebook device also illustrates a couple of important principles about the developing nature of communications and content businesses built on the use of networks.

And that developing reality is that the “networks” do not matter as much as they used to. That doesn’t mean the networks are unimportant.

But both Internet and “telecom” ecosystems now are loosely coupled, compared to the tight coupling of the past. In a business sense, that means application providers don’t necessarily have a direct business relationship with access providers.

Even if Facebook winds up creating and supporting an operating system, not a “device,” that OS is expected to take concrete form in the form of one or more devices and would simply allow more users, more of the time, to communicate using voice and text with other people using the Internet – not their mobile service provider services.

To be sure, some think a Facebook phone would have a hard time getting traction. No matter; the trend is clear enough.

Devices and apps increasingly are loosely coupled to the access networks, and more of the value of any communications or content experience comes from devices and apps, not the actual delivery network.

And that is chipping away at the value of carrier-provided voice and messaging. But you knew that.




Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Verizon Shows Support for Nepal Earthquake Victims

By: Dominick Sorrentino    4/27/2015

As international aid agencies and NGOs gear up to help the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, claiming more than 3…

Read More

Survey Shows Business Executives and IT Leaders Disagree on Future of Enterprise Tech Investing

By: Peter Bernstein    4/27/2015

Perception can become reality, and this is not necessarily good news. This is particularly true during times of major change, which we are currently e…

Read More

Comcast-TWC Demise Points to Online Video's Ascendency

By: Tara Seals    4/27/2015

Comcast may have called off its $45 billion megamerger with Time Warner Cable, but the legacy of what that means for the FCC's policy for online video…

Read More

How Solar Investments Will Change in 2016

By: Anna Johansson    4/27/2015

The solar industry has been of particular interest to consumers, businesses, and technology developers over the course of the past decade or so. Solar…

Read More

Nevada: Silver State to Tech Center

By: Doug Mohney    4/24/2015

Silver was the primary mineral mined in Nevada when it was admitted to the union in 1864, earning it the slogan of "The Silver State." Times changed, …

Read More