Facebook and Smartphones – was not there ever someday? Oh yes: In 2013, Facebook launched an attempt to gain a foothold in this market, but not with its own hardware, but with the unspeakable Facebook Home, which was packaged as software on the HTC-made smartphone called First.
Both of them went terribly into their pants: After only a short time nobody used more Facebook Home, the HTC First lay also like lead on the shelves. But let’s forget what was once and turn to the brand-new plans of Facebook.
This time, Facebook is secretly working on its own smartphone, as a patent application submitted on July 20 by Facebook. Facebook’s development department Building 8 is therefore working on a modular device, which is a hardware that allows individual components to be exchanged.
The modular system – also with smartphones – is of course not unknown to us: Google has tried with the Project Ara desperately, the LG G5 pursued a modular approach and also the Fairphone 2 relies on this principle. So now it is also trying to Facebook and hopes to make it better.
This is not just about creating a smartphone, the project planned by Facebook sounds much more universal. According to the patent filed with the USPTO, this “modular, electromagnetic device” could be a smartphone, for example a mobile speaker, depending on which modules are installed.
These are the two ideas that Facebook is pursuing with this project: once you want to have a core device at the start, which can be modified by individual components in very different directions. On the other hand, one also wants to contribute to the production of less electronic waste. With a modular smartphone, it means you do not have to purchase a completely new handset, but simply replace the component that you think is necessary.
With Regina Dugan, who heads the Building 8 labs, Facebook also has the right person on his own list: Prior to her Facebook, she was also responsible for Google’s development of Project Ara. Critics can now say that it is perhaps precisely because of Google is the project is not the right thing because the project has pushed to the wall. On the other hand, it is more than most others in this matter and should have learned from previous mistakes.
Interesting idea in any case, although we must take into account that we are talking about only one patent application. So we have no idea when a real Smartphone from Facebook will appear, whether the company might opt for a completely different implementation – or whether this project might never even end in a market-ready product. We will pursue it further, but do not expect so quickly that Facebook with its own handset on the market urges.