Facebook may or may not have abandoned its long-rumored dream of having its own branded handsets, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to be on every smartphone. In what may be a relief to many who dreaded the thought of a Facebook phone, the social networking giant is working with Chinese chipmaker Spreadtrum to embed its software directly into the guts of inexpensive smartphones.
This is a much smarter move. Rather than get into the costly, risky world of hardware, they will be able to more easily achieve their goals of
world domination mass adoption by going after the target market that eludes them the most – new entries into 21st century tech. It can be assumed that most people who are already in the 21st century with their smarphones, tablets, and social media opinions have already made the decision about whether or not they want to be on Facebook. A handset would not achieve broader expansion of their reach. It would have added a lot of dimensions with minimal extra adoption (nobody’s going to join Facebook because they got a Facebook phone) and too much risk for a public company that relies on sentiment to grow.
By going after the emerging markets – those in less-developed countries who will use their inexpensive smartphones as their primary entry onto the internet and those in the developed countries who have fought the push towards 21st century technology since, well the turn of the century – they’re actually going to benefit much more with zero risk and minimal expenditures.
Putting their Facebook app inside the guts of the phone before they’re even built means that they’ll be able to pull in the less-tech-savvy audience that they have the most trouble reaching. It won’t hurt their current base and it’s the type of under-the-radar move that has helped Google and Apple grow successfully behind the scenes for years while their public efforts continue to shine. This is a very intelligent move for the company that has not been public for a year, that has had its share of ups and downs, and that has a tremendous potential to take over the
world mind share in general.