Facebook is getting ready for a big event tomorrow. There's no word on what it's about, though there's a hint that it has something to do with mobile. Big events like this are rare for Facebook, it only does it when it has something big to show for it, for example the Timeline.In fact, the simple fact that Facebook is holding an event pushed shares up 10 percent in just one week, smashing through the $30, €22.41 mark for the first time since July, when the price was on its way down, and closing in on $32, €23.90.
The mystery was great for resurfacing one of the great Facebook rumors, the Facebook Phone. This has been speculated on for years, to the point that Facebook, Zuckerberg himself in fact, came out and said that they are not building a Facebook phone or even an OS.
The mythical Facebook phone (or an Android fork)But plenty of other companies were "not" building big products up until the point they launched them. Apple wasn't building a tablet, Google wasn't building a social network and so on.
That said, an actual Facebook phone is still very unlikely. Also unlikely is a Facebook OS built from the ground up.
Facebook could be building an Android fork, like Amazon, but that's a big undertaking and the payoff may not be that big for Facebook.
Still, it's an interesting idea to explore. Facebook is hurting by not having its own mobile operating system, it's at the mercy of Apple and to a lesser degree Google. It's fight with Apple kept the iPad app from launching for months.
In the meantime, Facebook is trying to build an app ecosystem, including the mobile space. Its mobile apps already include app recommendations, but a full-fledged app store is hard to build on someone else's platform.
That said, Facebook probably can't take on Apple and Google in the smartphone market in the Western world. In the developing world though, things aren't so clear cut, Facebook could design a simpler smartphone OS, running on cheaper devices aimed at emerging markets.
Done right, the phone or phones could be a huge hit in many parts of the world, especially in parts where Facebook still has plenty of room to grow.
Voice calls in Messenger and an iPad appBut the reality of what Facebook is unveiling may be a bit more mundane. Facebook recently started adding voice call support to its mobile Messenger apps.
The announcement may simply be a wide roll out of a voice service to complement its increasingly thorough set of features in Messenger. A video call feature to take on Google+'s Hangouts would also be a great addition, though this is pure speculation.
One rumor that's been floated recently is a Messenger app for the iPad. This could be part of the larger announcement of a beefed up Messenger service.