Why Facebook Home is good for Apple

“Facebook finally released a new mobile phone app called Home, which isn’t a full Facebook smartphone like some people wanted, but a step in that direction for the social media company,” Travis Hoium writes for The Motley Fool. “What it does is turn [a] Google Android phone into a giant Facebook app with constant updates.”

“At first, this may look like a positive step for Facebook or even another compelling reason to buy an Android phone. But I think it highlights the problems for both and will push consumers toward Apple,” Hoium writes. “The problem with so many different versions of Android and varying levels of modification is that it dilutes the experience for the user. An iPhone user knows how to use any other iPhone but every Android phone is different. The worst thing for Google is that a heavily forked Android device may not even use the programs Google was trying to promote in the first place.”

Hoium writes, “I have a Facebook account, but I’ve said before that I’m about ready to drop it. I just don’t need useless updates from people I don’t talk to on a regular basis. And I definitely don’t need those updates on my home screen. I think Facebook Home runs the risk of overloading people with too much social media… Where Apple has the lead over Android and now Facebook is in its consistent and elegant user experience. I think this highlights that difference and will comfort consumers who will become increasingly overwhelmed by the number of choices from Android… For those who value consistency and ease of operation, Apple is still the way to go. I think Facebook Home only adds to the confusion about Android and will push users toward Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

26 Comments

  1. While I agree with the basic premise of this argument, that the Facebook Home will fragment Android, I don’t think it matters in the least to the sort of people who will buy such phones, but I don’t think that Android fragmentation is necessarily a good thing for Apple, but obviously it’s not a bad thing for Apple.

    The people most likely to buy a Facebook phone will not be particularly aware of which operating system it uses and won’t care either. They are unlikely to use that phone in a very demanding manner, so it will be good enough for their needs.

    Apple doesn’t go after that type of customer. Android manufactures will just fight amongst themselves over the unprofitable end of the market and it won’t have much effect on Apple either way. Those customers were highly unlikely to buy iPhones in the first place.

    1. agreed.

      1) Can Zuckerberg not create his own OS?
      2) What can we do, if people truly want and need a device to Facebook – let them. Happy Apple participated in the way they did – but FB is acting on desperation now.

    2. I think these customers are very likely to buy the iPhone since it’s ecosystem is much more robust and compatible with apps, 3rd party hardware and etc… I don’t believe there are many people who want Facebook the first thing they see when they turn on their phone. Facebook fanatics would be best served with the Facebook app on iPhone when all things are considered.

      In other words, Facebook Home isn’t a palpable niche for knowledgeable customers to fit into.

      This reminds me of the horrendous / useless toolbars that cling on some people’s web browsers. In this case scenario, links to the site are preferable to a constant toolbar on your web browser stealing precious real estate and being distracting / gaudy.

    3. There is no Facebook phone. It’s just an app. And iPhone users are just as likely, if not more, to use Facebook than Android phone users. Like it or not, most iPhone buyers are not Apple fanatics. You and I may know everything about iPhones, iPads,iMacs, Mac Pros, Safari etc but most people are just buying a phone. And they buy what’s popular. This move by Facebook will help Android phones in the short-term. Apple is not about to let Facebook take over IOS. But something different will happen between Facebook and Apple. But Apple will control it. But again, just because someone uses Facebook doesn’t mean that they’re not using an iPhone. In fact I would guess that it’s more likely that Facebook will be used by someone with an iPhone rather then and Android phone. And Apple will take everybody’s money, no matter what tax bracket they’re in.

    4. People don’t care and don’t bother to know what operating system their phones are based on. People buy phones by three factors: up front cost, look and feel, and covered needs in that sequence. They don’t care whether the phone inside parts and software come from Samsun, Google or Apple. People don’t know what fragmentation means, they just ask: can I afford it? Is it pretty? Can I twitte, take a picture and send it to Facebook? Here, my credit card.

    1. Well, let’s see:
       • Facebook = [70, 97, 99, 101, 98, 111, 111, 107] via ASCII
       • ∑(Facebook) = 794
       • ∑ (ways to rearrange the distinct letters in Facebook) = 2^7 = 128
       • 794 -128 = 666
      ∴ Facebook = AntiChrist!

  2. I signed up for FB when it first came out and within a month I closed the account. I couldn’t find a legitimate use for the app. It was a time waster and didn’t really make me feel connected with my friends because I prefer real face to face communication or at least voice connection. I hate that fact that so many web services try to make me sign up with FB to access their sites. I won’t ever use FB at all.

  3. All this open-ness is going to explode in Google’s face unless they try to control the OS by putting some hooks into what can and can’t be done. Allowing Android to be forked is one of the most dangerous things one can imagine for the originator a specific OS. Allowing smartphone and tablet vendors to lock out Google Play makes no sense at all for Google. In theory, vendors are probably allowed to lock out Google’s search engine and then what use would Android be to Google at all. It’s true that Android would continue to grab smartphone market share, but there would be less and less financial return for Google. It would just become some mutant OS barely recognizable from what Google intended it to be.

    This FaceBook layer will only increase the fragmentation of Android and that’s a good thing for Apple. I don’t have any particular interest in FaceBook activity so it certainly wouldn’t drive me to use Android devices. All Apple has to be concerned with is keeping it’s own iOS intact and pretty much keeping all the various years of iPhone models OS interface looking as alike as possible by pushing updates to as many users on the iOS platform as possible. I think UI consistency is more important that just whiz-bang interface changes that tech-heads are so enamored with.

  4. This is a non-issue for those who don’t use Facebook. Many people do, including me. I think the app would appeal mostly to kids and FB junkies who use it above all else. My concern is that FB will become a second-class experience for those who use it on iOS, though I expect Google to eventually offer the app for it anyway due to greed. Another concern is that “Apple vs. the World” could help create all the Androids to forge their own iOS-excluded ecosystem.

    1. My somewhat vague impression at the moment is that the current crop of kids are getting sick of Facebook and either using or seeking alternatives.

      Imagine this: A resurgence of IRC, Internet Relay Chat. Your room, your friends, no one else is invited, no one else has access. That’s one easy option that’s been around longer than the web. Then toss in free private cloud service accounts for file sharing. I’m not going to be surprised if that’s the new direction. DIY. Total control.

      (UseNet newsgroups? No. Their reputation was ruined years ago to the point where you can’t even get there from here via many ISPs and/or they are persistently surveilled by The Powers That Be for kiddy porn scum, etc. AND you can read UseNet via Google. *horrors*)

  5. This just the first salvo. Google has to respond. This is like a food truck pulling up in front of a restaurant and blocking all access to the restaurant.

  6. Really! It won’t make the slightest bit of difference to Apple. Those without a clue will and those with, won’t. Simple as that. Facebook fanatics, some people might be, but few will go the Facebook Home way. They might be fanatics, they aren’t necessarily stupid.

  7. Looks like a legal trojan horse tracking all your interests on the internet and Facebook and sending you targeted advertising on your home screen and draining your battery in the process. No wonder Apple’s iOS wouldn’t go near this Home.

    1. I never thought of that, I wonder what drain it will have on your battery life changing your background with photos and getting notifications every 2 mins.

  8. I’ve always said that there is no android and it is just a shell for other operating systems. This takes that and moves itto hyperdrive. Just compare an iPhone to a model of another phone, sold, not shipped. Profit not numbers sold. Android does not exist. It is malware, not a phone.

  9. Facebook technology people please chime in and correct me if I’m wrong. Facebook is and will continue to be heavily a PC/IE centric space. They put the majority of their resources into maintaining the Facebook experience on PCs running Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Facebook has been riddled with bugs and problems on non-IE browsers throughout it’s existence. The experience on any thing but a PC with IE is always less than complete, and the bugs on non-PC/IE interfaces get addressed much more slowly, and sometimes not at all. Their solution has been to deliver apps for mobile devices, and they are never as good as the browser experience, and are slower responding. IMHO, Home will be much like the iPhone and iPad apps in performance and completeness of experience, and that is somewhere between dreadful and kind of sad. They will roll out Home, and fix the bugs when they can get to it, people will realize that the browser version is better, and will turn Home off. That’s if they’re given an easy way to turn it off. If they don’t give users the easy opt out, the word will get out, and the Home phone will tank. Facebook has a long history of rolling out updates that (to the user) solve no problems, and surely only enhance Facebook’s ability to throw more ads onto your screen.

  10. Although fragmentation obviously is a real problem on Android I don’t see what role fb home is supposed to play in this. It’s just another launcher (there are many of them available for Android, some of them quite popular like Apex or Nova). E.g. the compatibility of apps is usually not impacted by whatever launcher a user has installed, the problems lie elsewhere.

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