Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Nokia dumps location-based service Friend View, falls in love with Facebook

During the opening keynote at Nokia World, which kicked off today, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was at pains to point out that the handset maker didn’t view Internet “services” as an interesting side business but that it was still the future of the company.

And along with music, messaging and turn-by-turn navigation, location-aware social networking, which the company calls SoLo, and other types of location-based services are key to this future. After all, Nokia has invested heavily in GPS-related technologies and applications, the boldest example being the $8.1 billion purchase of Navteq in late 2007.

What was and still is unclear is how much of Nokia’s SoLo strategy involves building out its own social networking offerings or partnering with and supporting established social networks. With today’s announcement of a tie up with Facebook and with it the death of the company’s own ‘Friend View’, with regards to the simplest of ‘SoLo’ applications — share my current location with friends — the handset maker has seen sense and decided to do the latter.

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XBox 360 to support Twitter and Facebook. Who's the biggest social network on TV now?

Facebook on XBox 360

Facebook on XBox 360

For a long time now, Microsoft has made the rather lofty claim that the company’s XBox 360 was the biggest social network on TV. For the most part that was in reference to XBox Live – the games console’s online service – and its integration with Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft’s cross platform Instant Messaging service (Windows, Mac and mobile). Yesterday, however, Microsoft announced at E3 that the XBox 360 will soon be adding support for two competing social networks – Twitter and Facebook – making the XBox 360 undoubtedly the most socially networked set-top box, but not necessarily a Microsoft-owned social network the biggest one on the television. I’m not sure how Windows Live Messenger user numbers and Facebook’s compare in terms of cross-over with XBox Live membership but it’s nonetheless significant that Microsoft has chosen to embrace two competitors.

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A glimpse into the Nokia N97's Facebook app (screen shots)


Six months prior to its scheduled release, influential tech blogger Robert Scoble dubbed Nokia’s upcoming N97 the “ultimate Facebook phone“. And as impressive as the device promises to be, that seemed just a tad premature, especially as the handset maker was reportedly still working out how deeply it should integrate a rival’s web service into its flagship phone. The competition wasn’t going to stand still either.

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Palm Pre aiming to be THE Facebook phone – social networking still mobile's killer app


(Credit: Jamie Gonzalez via twitpic)

I’ve written many times before that social networking, and Facebook in particular, is the killer application for mobile phones. It’s what’s driving take up of mobile data and the adoption of higher end so-called smartphones. The mobile networks have taken notice and jumped on the social networking bandwagon, heavily promoting access to Facebook as a key feature, and handset makers are doing the same.

RIM has been targeting consumers with an ad campaign that features the Blackberry’s Facebook application.

Ditto Apple with the iPhone.

And there’s INQ, a new entrant whose first device, the INQ1, has been dubbed ‘the Facebook phone‘ based on its deep integration with the social networking site.

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BlackBerry address book integrates Facebook, apes Palm Pre's "Synergy" and INQ1

blackberry-facebookA new version of the Facebook for BlackBerry application has been released that offers better integration with the social networking site. Two standout features: a user’s friends list is kept in sync with the handset’s built-in address book – Facebook avatars show up as called ID, for example – and notifications from the social networking site are “pushed” to the phone’s home screen. Other features offered, not all of which are new, include:

  • Send/receive message or wall posts, pokes and friend requests.
  • Update your status, view and comment on your friends’ status.
  • Share photos from your BlackBerry smartphone with tags/comments and post to Facebook with just one click.

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Hands-on review: INQ1 a.k.a. the 'Facebook phone'

Over the last week I’ve been playing with the INQ1, the so-called ‘Facebook phone’. Designed by the same team behind mobile carrier 3’s original “Skype Phone” (see last100’s coverage), like its predecessor, this fairly nondescript 3G candy bar slider masks plenty of innovation on the software side.

Integrated into the handset, for example, is Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger, along with various widgets, such as Yahoo Weather. Just don’t call it a smartphone, says the company. Instead, the INQ1 is billed as a low cost device, designed to appeal to a broader and, perhaps, younger market than existing smartphones from the likes of Apple, RIM, Nokia and HTC.

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Should Nokia get into bed with Facebook? Err, yes

Nokia is in protracted talks with Facebook about ways to further integrate the hugely popular social networking site into select handsets, reports WSJ. Although any partnership deal has yet to be struck, and may never be, according to the article, citing “a person familiar with the talks”.

An obvious feature that’s being explored is deeper integration of Facebook user profiles and contact info into the phones address book, similar to the INQ1 and the yet-to-be released Palm Pre. “When users looked up a contact, they could see whether their Facebook friends were logged on, send them messages and post comments on their profile pages.”

A potential stumbling block, however, is Nokia’s concern over how much mobile-specific user data Facebook would get their hands on. “Nokia doesn’t want the service to provide Facebook with an avenue to compile data about cellphone users, such as their Web browsing or purchasing habits…”

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It's official: 3's "Facebook phone" unveiled

At a launch event this morning here in London, the mobile carrier “3” and sister company INQ Mobile unveiled the much anticipated “Facebook phone”. That’s not its official name, nor is it an official offering from Facebook — although the social networking site did have a hand in the phone’s deep Facebook integration.

Alongside the built-in Facebook client, the device — dubbed the INQ1 — includes apps for Windows Live Messenger and Skype, a web browser, widgets for Google and eBay and others, as well as music site being integrated into the phone’s media player (“scrobbling” of tracks only not actual streaming). However, its the way in which Facebook and the other included social apps have been integrated with the INQ1 that stands out.

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Forget iPhone or GPhone, 3 to debut "Facebook phone" next week

Just don’t call it the F-phone

A new low cost cellphone that puts Facebook and other social applications at its center will debut next week on Hutchinson-owned 3 in the UK and Australia, according to Unstrung. The new handset has been designed by another Hutchinson subsidiary, INQ Mobile, and is the first of a number of “low cost social mobile” offerings in the pipeline.

Apart from a dedicated Facebook client the device will also include applications for Skype, email and IM.

INQ Mobile’s CEO, Frank Meehan, told Unstrung that the company’s goal is to build cheaper 3G phones — two to three times less that the average smartphone — in order to persuade more consumers to start using mobile data.

“For 85 percent of our customers, we can’t really sell more than voice and text,” he says. “You need to drive data usage higher right across all the handset segments. You want the majority of customers, not the top-end of the community that rules strategy at the moment.”

Meehan says that with regards to Facebook integration, INQ worked closely with the social networking company in order to offer better integration than is available on existing handsets. Unlike the iPhone, for example, INQ’s Facebook application runs in the background so that users can automatically receive updates from their Facebook friends. “So Facebook becomes like SMS and can be used in the same way as SMS,” says Meehan.

Interestingly, before heading up INQ, Meehan was involved in the development of the first dedicated Skype mobile phone, also sold through 3, which we enthusiastically reported on just over a year ago.