Interested in making the new Facebook phone? If you said “no way”, you’re not alone. It seems as though nobody wants to get on board with Facebook, as their search for a manufacturer has left them wanting. Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei, Sony–even Samsung–have rebuffed the idea of making another Facebook phone.
If you’re wondering why anyone would turn down what amounts to work, you’re right to do so. Then again, it makes sense when considering HTC and their First, which was the first Facebook Home phone. That device, which came with the much maligned Facebook skin baked right in, was a disaster. It was a middle of the road design with unfortunate hardware, and fell flat with consumers.
On the heels of their delightful One, the First was a misstep for HTC.
Facebook Home also fell on its face. Initial feedback was terrible, and that’s not changed with time. Back in April, we told you all about the backlash, and noted a Play Store rating of 2.2 at the time of print. Today, that rating is only 2.4, but has nearly double the reviews.
The real surprise may be Samsung, who is deftly controlling the Android market. With an offering at just about every level and size, they’ve no reason to turn Facebook down. Samsung, when compared to the other manufacturers listed, can hit and miss as they please. Samsung also has the ability to make a device with respectable specs, but still keep the price lower than many others. The Korean conglomerate controls every aspect of the manufacturing and design process, putting them in a unique position to succeed at just about every juncture.
The other manufacturers are not so fortunate. None of them control the process so thoroughly, and probably rely on Samsung for some of their hardware. While they are responsible for the manufacturing and process by which the devices are built, more often than not the parts are made by someone else. This makes the manufacturing process less profitable, and leaves less room for errors in judgement. A lack of focus could lead to a loss of profit, a position none are willing to be in.
It’s hard to believe that over one billion people use Facebook, yet nobody wants a device that ties into it so closely.
Those manufacturers–save for Samsung, of course–are in the process of building their brand. Whether that be a reintroduction into the market (like Sony), or the shaky legs of a Huawei, the decision making process moving forward is crucial. Sony has a very impressive Xperia lineup, and their rumored Honami device may be groundbreaking. Huawei is making waves with the Ascend Mate, and even Lenovo has a high-end Android device in the works.
It’s reasonable to believe those companies also picked up on what HTC went through. On the heels of their delightful One, the First was a misstep for HTC. While the aim of the phone was clearly Facebook Home, HTC still came under fire for providing the hardware. Even as Home was lamented, HTC did not escape scrutiny for their part in that debacle.
Those companies who are reticent to make a Facebook phone are wise to do so, if Facebook wants to continue the path they’re on. Unless those devices are going to be Nexus experience devices, each manufacturer will have their own user interface to worry about. Facebook Home is a proven failure, so there is no reason to get involved. For those without a proven interface, having no name is better than having the Facebook label.
Facebook has tried and failed several times to have devices made for their service. It’s hard to believe that over one billion people use Facebook, yet nobody wants a device that ties into it so closely. Zuckerberg’s crew may have had high hopes for Home, but it could end being the final nail in their mobile device coffin.