Facebook Home, the launcher made by the social network for a few Android phones, may have attracted more than 500,000 downloads, but the phone on which it comes pre-installed – the HTC First – hasn’t been embraced by the smartphone buying public. The device has had its priced slashed at AT&T, and its UK launch indefinitely postponed, leaving Facebook Home without a permanent place of residence.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be exploring alternatives to HTC, and according to industry sources, has been speaking to Samsung on just that subject. Zuckerberg visited Samsung’s headquarters in Korea this week, where he met with several executives including the head of its mobile division, Shin Jong-kyun.
However, sources have told the Korea Herald that Samsung is, “Unlikely to be considering the request for a Facebook-platform phone,” due to it doing little for the Samsung brand, and offering limited financial benefits. Also, Facebook is said to be wanting a mid-range device built to showcase Home, but Samsung wishes to concentrate on high-end hardware.
The report also notes Facebook’s wish to, “become the second Google,” a mission which Samsung has little incentive to help it achieve, as sources say it already considers Google a rival, following its partnership with Motorola. Despite meeting with Samsung whilst in South Korea, Zuckerberg didn’t take the opportunity to meet with LG. This is surprising, as LG may have been more open to building a phone with Home pre-installed.
Where Zuckerberg will go next with Home isn’t known, but as Samsung and HTC are hardly clamoring to make a Facebook Home phone, options are running low. Having shunned LG, and Huawei having little impact on the U.S. market, perhaps Facebook needs to have a chat with ZTE. The Chinese firm has made huge progress in the burgeoning pre-pay market in America, where many of Facebook’s target audience reside; plus it’s keen to continue building its brand around the world, making a partnership with Facebook highly desirable.
In the meantime, Facebook Home remains a nomad.