Facebook event speculation turns to phones, mobile, search

Social network schedules mysterious press conference for Tuesday

By , Computerworld |  Unified Communications, Facebook

With Facebook preparing for its mysterious press conference on Tuesday, speculation is surging that the announcement could be about anything from a new smartphone, a new mobile plan to a new search feature.

Last week, Facebook invited members of the press to a news event at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. "Come and see what we're building," the invitation read.

While rumors are swirling that the social network will throw its hat into the smartphone ring, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that he has no intention of coming out with a Facebook phone.

During an on-stage interview last September, Zuckerberg said he couldn't emphasize enough that there will be no Facebook phone.

"That's always been the wrong strategy for us," he said at the time. "We'll have 950 million users soon. Let's say we built a phone, theoretically -- we're not -- but we get 10 million people to use it. That doesn't move the needle for us.... The phone just doesn't make any sense."

However, at the same event, he did talk about the importance of mobile and the company's plans for search.

When asked about his interest in getting into search and how much Google's entrance into the world of social networking annoyed him, Zuckerberg said, "We do on the order of a billion queries a day now and we're not even trying... I think there's a lot of opportunity there and we'll have to some day go after that."

Today, industry analysts were betting on an announcement on a possible mobile ad strategy or search over a Facebook entry into the crowded and competitive phone market.

"Facebook has been wise to distance itself from the mobile device business, and I expect them to stick to that strategy," said IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds, who is betting more on Facebook's making a mobile app or search announcement. "There are more downsides than you can list there, with no redeeming opportunity, in my view," he said, referring to a Facebook smartphone.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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