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How a Facebook phone can conquer the world

Armando Rodriguez | April 4, 2013
Nearly every mobile device you can name can access Facebook. So if the social media giant is going to come out with its own phone, it had better have some impressive features.

If all the leaks and rumors surrounding Thursday's Facebook event pan out, we can say with 99.9999 percent certainty that we'll see a new smartphone from the social media giant.

The leaked specs point toward an HTC-built device with ho-hum specs and a custom Facebook launcher running over Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. As underwhelming as the rumored hardware sounds, there's always the chance that Facebook will have a trick or two up its sleeve when it comes to the phone's software. And the social network is going to need to pull out all the stops if it hopes to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung in the mobile space.

Here are a few things the Facebook phone needs if it doesn't want to face the same tepid response that greeted the last "Facebook phone", the HTC Status.

Kick-ass camera software

According to a February 2012 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Facebook, an average of more than 250 million photos are uploaded to the social network every single day. (Seriously, why do you keep uploading so many photos of your kids?) While the Facebook phone's rumored 5-megapixel camera might not sound all that impressive, Facebook can help make up for the lack of megapixels by building in some awesome features for the phone's camera app. With most people taking photos on their smartphones, the ability to seamlessly take, edit, and upload those photos will be crucial if the Facebook phone hopes to avoid the discount bin.


One way Facebook could do this would be by making Instagram the default camera app. Instagram is one of the most widely used mobile photo apps in the world and it features a bevy of filters and editing tools that can help hide some of the camera's imperfections. And, because it's owned by Facebook, this version of Instagram could also have extra functionality not found on the standard iOS or Android versions.

Keep some Google in

If you're a regular user of Facebook on a desktop, you may have noticed that a number of the social network's features are powered by Microsoft Bing. Though Bing may have its advantages over Google Search, Bing's mapping services still pale in comparison to Google Maps. In the past, phone makers and carriers have tried stripping some of the built-in Google services and apps from Android-usually with disastrous results.

Google Now is arguably one of the best features of Android Jelly Bean.

By leaving Google services such as Maps and Google Now intact, Facebook could push its phone as having all the benefits of a regular Android phone with extra goodies that make it more social.


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