Instead of ‘Facebook Mobile’, Mark Zuckerberg and friends unveiled “Home” on April 4th. Facebook ‘Home’ is a super app that replaces the home screen on Android.
In addition, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced a partner program with HTC and AT&T being the first. While it remains to be seen how adoption will play out, analysts at Sterne Agee view it as another potential competitive threat to Google’s mobile monetization efforts (the other being Samsung). Analysts find the “people first” interface unique but they believe it could be easily replicated. It will also be interesting if Android licensing terms are revised in the future.
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Facebook Home on Android.
On 04/04/13, at a press event held at its headquarters, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) unveiled “Home” which is essentially a super app that replaces the home and lock screens of Android populating it with one’s Facebook friends and news feed. Analysts find it interesting that the announcement ended up not being a smartphone and/or mobile OS as widely anticipated but effectively accomplishes being a Facebook phone with a launcher/skin overlay over Android.
Analysts think Facebook Home posts a threat as it essentially becomes the main user interface for an Android smartphone and puts services like Gmail, search, YouTube, and Play in the background. The big question is whether Android licensing terms will change in the future to prevent something like this to happen. The other downside is that Facebook Home arguably further fragments Android requiring the need for developers to make multiple versions of the same apps.
Analysts find the “people first” interface of Facebook home refreshing and new vs. apps and tasks today on most mobile devices. However, they believe the barrier-to-entry isn’t that high for others to replicate. Though analysts believe that one big advantage that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) undoubtedly has is that it by far the most widely used social network.
Analysts think another question worth asking is whether there is a significant market for a social focused mobile device? This is ultimately a matter of whether users want a prominent view of their friends and feeds (and not so friends) at all times. This could particularly be an issue for users with lots of Facebook friends.
Will Samsung Highlight Facebook Home?
HTC is the first hardware partner and it is a relatively smaller player with 5% market share in Android. It will be interesting to see if Samsung, the dominant leader with 42% share, signs up to create a Facebook smartphone and/or tablet when it has its own software and Internet ambitions.
According to Topeka research firm, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s mobile ad revenues will exceed the consensus estimate. Analysts at Topeka also believe that the Facebook Home product announced yesterday looks promising. The firm reiterate its Buy rating and recommend that investors should take advantage of the share price weakness.