04 Apr 2013
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Will the Facebook phone be released tomorrow?

Facebook has invited members of the media to 'come see our new home on Android' in California tomorrow - but what does it all mean?

Scheduled at its Menlo Park, California HQ, the social networking site was predictably quiet on details, leaving the press to speculate on what the invite means.

CNET have speculated the announcement could be regarding a Facebook phone, pictured, allegedly that the two and a half years of rumours suggests this.

Industry analysts Analysys Mason also agree, believing a move into the smartphone market makes perfect sense for the social media giant.

"Android is Facebook’s most important mobile playground," says Ronan de Renesse, principal analyst, Analysys Mason.

"Android is the largest smartphone operating system, representing nearly 60% of worldwide smartphone shipments in 2012.

"More importantly, Android dominates the low-end smartphone segment in which most future growth will come from.

"Android is therefore tactically important for Facebook to increase its reach on mobile and grow customer engagement with its apps."

Believing that Facebook needs to be more ‘native’ to grow customer engagement, de Renesse says two thirds of daily smartphone usage corresponds to pre-installed applications – applications that have been installed on the device before its purchase.

"Although some new smartphone model come preloaded with the Facebook app," he says. "It is also important that the Facebook application is tailored for specific popular smartphone models to guarantee a superior quality of experience.

"Facebook could increase its app engagement (i.e. daily usage per user of the app) six-fold if it were to become the default communication platform for telephony, messaging and email.

"Telephony and messaging remain the most used applications on smartphones. Facebook IM and Facebook’s recently launched VoIP feature are examples of the company’s effort in the mobile communications space."

With Facebook’s penetration of smartphones currently standing at 50%, including total social networking penetration of smartphones is 50%, the company stands to hold a whopping 96% market share with the launch.

"Facebook’s messaging features are also used by 14% of smartphone users," de Renesse says. "Total IP messaging penetration of smartphones is 34%, giving Facebook a 42% market share (Skype and WhatsApp are the leaders)."

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