Facebook can reach a wider audience with Facebook Home, not a Facebook phone.
Facebook Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Wired shortly after the Facebook Home reveal, explaining why his company chose to create a launcher for Android phones instead of an actual Facebook phone. To his defense, taking the former route was not only cheaper for the social network, but less time consuming than building an actual operating system and tuning it for a reference design. He claims the launcher will simply reach more users.
"I’ve always been very clear that I don’t think that’s the right strategy," he said in an interview. "We’re a community of a billion-plus people, and the best-selling phones—apart from the iPhone—can sell 10, 20 million. If we did build a phone, we’d only reach 1 or 2 percent of our users. That doesn’t do anything awesome for us. We wanted to turn as many phones as possible into 'Facebook phones.' That’s what Facebook Home is."
Currently, the Facebook Home numbers are still slim, branded phone or not. The launcher will make its debut on the HTC First on April 12, and will then be made available on Google Play for the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. It will also run on the upcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4 phones when they arrive, and on more devices in the coming months. Overall, that's not many Facebook users despite the company's broad goal.
So then why not team up with Apple too? "We have a pretty good partnership with Apple, but they want to own the whole experience themselves," he admitted. "There aren’t a lot of bridges between us and Google, but we are aligned with their open philosophy."
He also said that Facebook created Home because the company knew it could do better than to simply produce highly-polished apps that resembled the desktop experience. "Facebook accounts for 23 percent of the time people spend on smartphones. The next-biggest ones are Instagram and Google Maps, which are each at 3-percent. For the past 18 months, we spent our efforts building good versions of Facebook’s mobile apps. But the design was still very close to what we have on the desktop. We knew that we could do better."
The full interview can be read on Wired here. Topics cover preventing a walled garden at Facebook, the site's News Feed, taking a vacation, making financial donations and more.