The Facebook phone is here.The Facebook phone rumor has been around for a while and it is a matter of time it becomes real. I think they should have done it earlier and should have larger ambition other than just trying to design a ‘home’ for Android. Home sounds like a PaaS personalization tool and not sure how many FB users will want this. FB see the potential for them but it is hardly a threat for others but Android might modify their terms so this won’t happen again in the future.
With FB already commands more than 20% share of people's time on mobile devices (excluding Instagram), it can further boost FB mobile usage particular for younger users. Will FB take over 20% of all Android phones, we have yet to find out. For now, FB is pretty convinced that people will want a phone designed around it and perhaps with additional hardware feature that is uniquely FB.
FB should really be making its own phone, it is reported that they are working with mobile chipmaker Spreadtrum to pre-optimize its software for the cheapest Android handsets. It is hard to compete on the high end with Samsung and Apple, if Facebook prodcued its own low end phone, though, it could create a new business model in the mobile market and FB could negotiate better data plans for their members or partially subsidize them with advertising. This is not easy for Facebook to jump in and get carriers to agree to sell its phone. For me, I see no reason to have a FB phone.
For Microsoft, they are waiting to see how well Nokia's Lumia phones Windows Phone 8x and 8s sell before making a strategic decision to enter the smartphone market on its own. I think it makes perfect sense for them to decide to play in the hardware space. They have made that decision with Surface tablets. It is a matter of time that they will play in this smartphone market, they risk becoming irrelevant as market is switching into different computing format.
Microsoft is thinking dual-screen and has applied to patent a dual-screen phone interface. One screen for device interface and the other as a monitor and is detachable. NEC is making one and is marketing them as the "best cloud device," the dual-screen Android from NEC handset also has a super powered battery to keep both displays running.
It will be interesting to see what can we do with two screens. We're already designing dualscreen user experience models and I think this is catch on. The mobile industry is changing faster than anyone could have imagined and the interface paradigms there have been static. Here is the opportunity for us to introduce new ways of interacting with others and new ways these machines can understand what we need.