Why a “Facebook phone” makes sense
As we’ve reported previously at Quartz, “Of the 10 countries with the most Facebook users, six are emerging markets, and five of them—India, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, and the Philippines—represent 217 million Facebook users.” Facebook has also taken over in Africa, and in Indonesia, as we wrote then, “Facebook is literally becoming the internet.”
What all of these regions have in common, at present, is relatively slow connection speeds for mobile data. Given the phones that HTC normally makes, which are high-end smartphones, Facebook is probably offering its “Facebook phone” first in rich countries, where networks are fast enough to support voice calls over a data connection. But some day soon, most of the mobile networks in the world will be able to support phone calls via data.
Facebook might become what AOL/Yahoo! was for the US in the 1990s. This time, developing countries would represent a bigger market and Facebook’s focus on voice communication would help them grow.