Facebook announced the release of their new phone on Thursday, but it is not what many people expected. Instead of having an actual device, Facebook has developed software to work in tandem with their own messenger app. This feature reaches through a wifi connection and connects people to each other, much like Skype.
Facebook users can now phone their friends from Facebook using the Facebook messenger app with the most current upgrade. When using this app, people can select their contacts and start an IM conversation with them, but they can also send a direct call.
Each conversation box now has a small “i” in the corner that can be selected. This will bring the user to a phone conversation in which they can actually talk to their contact, provided they have the updated software and answer the call. This service only works for the iPhone as of now, but android phones may be just around the corner.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, has said that a physical phone isn’t a good idea for them. Taking the software route instead of making hardware allows them to test certain aspects of a feature or service without having to issue a recall. Any problems that occur within the programming can be fixed with simple updates rather than making entirely new models.
In addition, only developing software means that they are able to sidestep some of the competition and make programs that can be compatible with multiple operating systems. This means that while they have a deal worked out with Apple and the iPhone, Facebook can still be accessed and used by android users. Keeping their options open and not jumping into the hardware market means more money in the end for Facebook.
Consumers can count on seeing Facebook continue to make advances in the messaging and communications arena.