Apple, Amazon and now Microsoft through the Surface tablet have created hardware and software ecosystems, but will Facebook be joining them and when?
Mobile is a key area of focus for Facebook, not only in addressing the relative shortfalls of mobile advertising revenue, but also how best to develop the product as digital media share, particularly on social networking services, shifts from desktop to mobile. This is critical with over 50% of visits to the site on mobile, but very little ad revenue generated by these visits.
One strategy is to adopt the ecosystem model and develop the hardware with a Facebook phone with the social networking service an integral part of the operating system, probably build around Android.
Rumours have persisted that Facebook are hard at work developing a Facebook phone with HTC as the manufacturer and that it will launch in mid-2013. Until we hear it from Facebook directly, these are just rumours at this stage, although it will be interesting to see if Facebook make any comment in their first ever earnings report, now it is a public company.