First off, I need to admit up front that I’m not that addicted to Facebook and I do have a bad track record with guessing what technology is going to take off (read, I thought tablets were dumb). I check FB occasionally and I actually do read some of the email push messages. It is a good way to keep in touch with my solar system of friends so I’m by no means hating on Facebook. The hype about the new Facebook Home mobile “skin” for Android, however, just leaves me flat and, I’ll admit, just a little bit annoyed.

First off, the idea that Facebook is redefining itself as a mobile first company just confuses me. Facebook and mobile have always been intertwined from a user perspective. If anything, I suppose that Facebook is looking to try and figure out how to monetize mobile access, but their product marketing around the launch makes it seem like their “mobile first” initiative is more user-focused. I have the Facebook app on my phone. I dig it and use it when I’m waiting around somewhere.

Then, they announce that anybody can download it, but it is coming out natively on HTC phones. HTC? Everything I see about HTC Android devices is that they’re on the way down in terms of use and in terms of shipments. Why is it so wonderful that the only partnership they could announce was HTC?  I can see why HTC might like to breath some new life into their devices, but what’s in it for Facebook? When I think about the rationale for bigger manufacturers to build in Facebook Home, it doesn’t make strategic sense.  When I think about users downloading Facebook Home and installing it over their existing interface, I don’t see that happening either. For the most part we are quite rooted to the default settings of our mobile devices.

I consider myself to be pretty good at strategy so the fact that I can’t see any good reason for this new mobile opportunity to really work gives me pause. If I were in upper management at Facebook, aside from driving a much nicer car, I would be investigating purchasing a device manufacturer the way that Google did. Google saw the opportunity to establish permanent default setting status for their technologies while they continue to feed the broader mobile agenda.  Since Facebook wouldn’t ideally be beholden to Apple or Google (Android), I would throw my chips in with Blackberry and try to turn that company around with a triple scoop of Facebook coolness.

With both Yahoo and Facebook beating their chests about mobile strategy, I wonder if it has become rather fad-ish.  The data I’m seeing tells me that mobile is profoundly impacting everything about technology, but the real driver underneath the mobile strategy is actually tablets.  All of that reminds me that I originally thought that tablets were unnecessary, so maybe I’m all wrong.  The good thing about being me, however, is that I keep thinking I’m right about everything.  It helps me sleep better.  What do you think about Facebook Home?

Advertisements