Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm.

Who’s Going To Buy The Facebook Phone?

Facebook unveiled its long-awaited mobile phone platform today. It is, as assumed, a Facebook “layer” on top of Google Android. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, or even take a detailed look at the presentation. But I can already see where it might be useful and popular.

  • I don’t expect many happy iPhone users to bolt to Facebook phones — not yet, at least. Apple still has a big lead in hardware and OS quality, apps, media, and customer service.
  • I also don’t expect hardcore Android users — the type of people who buy and love Samsung Galaxy Notes, or Google Nexus devices — to jump to Facebook devices. That’s not the target audience.

But that’s hardly the entire phone market. It’s actually only a fraction of it.

  • What about those millions of people who have bought Android phones — and some iPhones, probably — who don’t really care that they’re Android phones, or even smartphones?
  • The types of people who, every couple of years, go into the Verizon or AT&T shop and walk out with whatever newish thing the store rep says they should buy? (All those people who buy Android phones but don’t really show up in usage logs.)
  • Or even first-time smartphone buyers?

My guess is that many — most? — of these people are Facebook users, and could easily see some utility in having Facebook features highlighted on their phones. And — bonus — Facebook’s software looks good. Much better than the junk that ships with typical low-end Android devices.

Boom. Done. Easy, defensible purchase, assuming the price is right.

Facebook isn’t likely to MySpace Android or iOS any time soon. But this is a smart, ambitious project for Facebook. I like it.