Facebook phone DiCoDEd

So, Facebook is working on a phone, or at least a phone OS. And if they’re not, well… they’d better to! The best article I’ve read treating this topic is the one from Business Insider. It’s talking about platform logic and platform utility, about social phone, with social features deeply integrated into the phone Operating System, and about Facebook Credits that could enable massive revenue streams for Facebook.

Apple going social with Game Center and Ping, Google going mobile and integrating Voice services into its popular Gmail, Microsoft going beyond apps making the first smart dashboard inside a phone and carriers (MNO) losing some more the key advantages they had starting the whole ecosystem…

All these elements (social networks, hardware, OS, apps, credentials, customer currencies…) are present in DiCoDE, so watching the model triggers a few thoughts. I leave it up to you, sharing them in the comments below if you want…

Here’s my take:

  • It’s all about money. Or at least currencies… On mobile phones, Facebook has difficulties monetizing users’ attention (through ads), users’ engagement (through apps), users’ data (well, that’s an exception, I’m sure they already gather all they need) and users’ money. Or at least controlling all this while being on Android, iOS or any other phone Operating System
  • If Facebook becomes an OS (or a browser, seeing how browsers integrate “apps” since Firefox), they are able controlling all this (just like Google does through Gmail account on Android and Apple through iTunes on iOS) and monetizing users’ attention, engagement, data and money
  • Facebook apps could become Facebook Mobile OS apps ecosystem, maybe without having to change anything in the code, which would allow Facebook starting with an enormous amount of apps as from day one!
  • Phone features  would then become social (Business Insider was talking about social phone), not having Facebook account pasted beside contact details, but Facebook ID creating a new address book. And don’t forget more basic phone features that are all about friends…
  • There’s a danger for a pure (internet) player entering real world design. It’s very difficult to make a phone that fits competitors advantages. Microsoft and Google failed, not (only) on making it, but on selling it. And Apple had a lot (visible and invisible) troubles making iPhones. Latest episode being the Antenna Date…

To conclude, it’s obvious Facebook is making a phone. And current relationship they have with other actors of the ecosystem (look at DiCoDE again) such as carriers/MNO, through the Facebook Zero deal, are very valuable in understanding key elements where Facebook has no power on, and that are critical for providing a good experience to their users.

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