With New Facebook Phone, Mark Zuckerberg is One Step Closer to World Domination

If the Internet rumor mill is right, the Facebook phone will launch on Thursday. Here are seven reasons this is ridiculous. By Winston Ross.

SHOCKINGLY BOLD PREDICTION: Once the crazily anticipated “Facebook Phone” does or does not get revealed Thursday, there will not be lines down the block at Mark Zuckerberg’s house for people who can’t wait to get their greasy mitts on the Next Big Smartphone.

That’s because it’s not the Next Big Smartphone. It’s not big, (or sleek or fast) according to one of the most reliable tech leakers on the Internet. It’s not “next,” either. By all appearance, the Facebook phone appears to be a midrange phone that shows you a slightly tricked-out version of Facebook the moment the thing turns on, rather than a home screen full of other apps. (Because who needs other apps, amiright?)

So maybe it’s the Ordinary Medium-Sized Smartphone With a Facebook Fetish. Catchy, eh?

But hey, lots of people have made lots of money off of things related to Facebook so far, so even if the Internet is in a weird state of agreement in hating on the idea of a Facebook phone well before anyone even knows if there will actually be a Facebook phone, we will tell you why all those critics hypothesizing about a hypothetical phone are completely batshit. We know this because we talked to the actual guy who in an irresponsibly detailed piece for a website called Android Police (“Looking After All Things Android”) wrote all about the way the phone is probably going to work, which he was able to do because some corporate spy apparently had the chutzpah to leak some kind of internal coding document about the phone to Android Police. This guy, Ron Amadeo, thinks the phone is stupid. BUT, he could be wrong! Dick Morris thought Mitt Romney was going to win in a landslide, remember?

OK, so here are the many reasons you might buy a Facebook phone, against the advice of everyone in the world.

Price. This is bald speculation, but a phone this crappy has to be pretty much free. It’ll have a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, a gigabyte of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a 4.3-inch display that can display an eye-popping 720p resolution. In other words, all the hardware specs of the best phones of 2009.

You are a “Facebook Monkey.” WE DIDN’T CALL YOU A FACEBOOK MONKEY. Ron Amadeo did. That’s why we put it in “quotes.” And what Ron Amadeo is saying is you have to care more about Facebook than anything else to want a Facebook phone. You go straight there, when you open your phone. When you get an email, or a text message, you are infuriated that this email or text messages has distracted you from Facebook from however long it took for you to go check those things. Facebook is life. It’s your life. You need a Facebook phone.

You do not realize that you don’t need to buy a Facebook phone to have a Facebook phone. If you want to stay that way (ignorance being bliss and all) stop reading right now. Pay no attention to Ron Amadeo behind the curtain, saying, “You can pretty much build this yourself right now with a Facebook widget and a regular Android phone.” But we’re pretty sure, because other people are pretty sure, that Facebook/Android are, at the same time they release this mystical phone (the phone’s codename is or was, at least at one point, “Myst” #thingsyouwishyoudidntknow), going to release a home-screen app that will allow any Android phone to become a Facebook phone. (Android phones, for those of you who have never bought a piece of technology that didn’t have a picture of a piece of fruit on it, allow users to basically pick their own home screen.)

You are sick and tired of having to navigate to the settings menu to turn off your Wi-Fi. What a hassle, right? Amadeo tells us you’ll be able to click a button and shut that dang Wi-Fi off any old time you please. Turn off your lock screen, too.

You feel sorry for Facebook because it is having a very hard time making money. You’re charitable, in other words. You like Facebook, you use Facebook, you don’t think it’s Facebook’s fault that Facebook has been thus far unable to figure out a way to squeeze even a few measly pennies out of its billion users, and you believe in paying it forward. Because what most of the tech wonks we hobnob with at dinner parties agree on is that this is really about what’s good for Facebook, not for you. “It’s going to allow them to push people more to use Facebook, I guess, and have a phone to hold and say, ‘You can go buy this,’” is how Amadeo puts it.

If Facebook has its own apps, it can completely bypass Apple’s App Store or Android’s platform, cutting out the virtual middleman. If Facebook had its way, we’d buy everything through Facebook, share everything on Facebook, make sweet love to Facebook, and walk along Houston Street with Facebook tattoos on our faces. Imagine, the greedy executives said to one another as they puffed cigars and drank Scotch and ate boiled goose in their boardroom, if we could make Facebook the Center of the Universe! You want apps? Sure, but only after you check Facebook first. Just think of Facebook as a charity, and you’ll buy one of their phones in a heartbeat.

You’re a chick. We didn’t say it! The Washington Post did. No really. Deftly beefing up its search engine optimization by throwing the title of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In into the headline, Dominic Basulto is convinced the ability of Facebook’s Social Graph to combine things like checking weather, getting directions, and reading the news has a distinct appeal to women, who care immensely about weather, directions, and news. “It’s hard not to see how this change in user experience will help women more than men,” Basulto writes. “A phone that funnels everything through one’s social graph may play to women’s growing strengths in the digital world: social networking and mobile use. That, in turn, could be good news for both their personal and professional lives.”

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