The “Facebook Phone” is scheduled for release on April 12th. It’s not an actual phone, but rather a skin which changes your phone to focus around the people you care about.
It is hard to categorize the Facebook Phone, but as Kyle Vanhemert describes in Home: Facebook’s Bold New Vision For Social Smartphones, “For most users, it will just become what their phone is.” We have always used social networking applications or text to keep in touch with friends and family. Facebook saw this habit and designed an interface that removes the need to depend on these applications to keep in touch with others. On the lock and home screen, Facebook Phone users can instantly see updates from loved ones and chat with no awkward visual obstructions.
I think that the concept of the Facebook Phone is interesting, but doesn’t offer much that is new or drastically different from the average smartphone interface. One thing that came to mind when reading Vanhemert’s post was that maybe some people just don’t want the pressure of instantly seeing the updates of other people. There are some studies that point out the shortened attention-span and limited patience of people who rely on instant methods of communication (ie, texting, emailing, im’ing…). Either ways, I am interested to see how the Facebook Phone competes with the traditional App-centered skin.