Facebook has the tech world in a twist over a mysterious event at their Silicon Valley HQ on January 15th at 10:00pm. Speculation has been mounting over the past year about the possible development of a Facebook branded smart phone, to take on Apple and Android. This fire was fueled again yesterday with the issuance of invitations to the above press conference. Details are non-existent about what will be announced with the invitations simply saying :”Come and see what we’re building”, according to Bloomberg.
Some reports have claimed recently that Facebook has been poaching engineers from Apple, who are working with HTC on the alleged phone, but given time frames it just seems incredibly unrealistic that Facebook would have come so far with any hardware projects by this time, to warrent a major announcement.
The event could simply be an opportunity for the Big Friendly Social Giant to reveal further details about timeline updates, further Instagram integration, or perhaps a new acquisition. After all Mark Zuckerberg has gone to some lengths to distance himself from speculation about facebook’s development of a phone. At Tech Crunch Disrupt less than five months ago he said on the issue: “it just doesn’t make any sense…it’s always been the wrong strategy for us”. And this makes a whole lot of sense. The Facebook app is already installed on 86% of iphones and ipads, according to Yahoo News and to make money on smartphone/tablet hardware is a bitter fight, as 2012 figures show that the only two companies returning a profit in the space were Apple and Samsung (see below, courtesy of CNN). For Facebook to break into this market with no previous experience in hardware would set stakeholder jaws quivering.
Update on this story guaranteed January 15th. In the mean time I’d love to hear your views on this.