In another step toward strengthening its mobile position, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced it will supply a home screen for smartphones working on the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, starting with HTC phones. Rather than an Android Facebook phone, this system gives the social media giant primary billing without hardware input from Facebook. Though it appears Google will still get its due, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has reasons to take note of Facebook’s play, as do Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK).
How will the Facebook app work on Android phones? Upon opening the phone, users will see their news feed, featuring updates according to set preferences. Facebook concerns will take prominence over other types of browsing online.
For Apple, the choice of Facebook to go with Android seems to be an opening salvo in what could be a very interesting battle for numbers one and two in the smartphone game. Apple has the top spot – and the high-end customers – locked down, but Android has the most-used OS worldwide and tremendous potential up and down the range of mobile device price points. With Facebook on board, the Google operating system has the potential to draw in more global customers, many of whom already confuse the two giants with the Internet itself.
Concerning its heated overseas competition with Facebook, Google does not appear vulnerable for two reasons. The first revolves around its search engine, which comes with all Android devices. The second reason is the plethora of Google brands attached, including YouTube and Google Maps. If Facebook users grow tired of the social media form in and of itself, there are many Google apps waiting to fill the void.
Since HTC will be the first Android device to carry the Facebook home screen, Samsung Galaxy phones will face some competition from the proposed marriage. The success of the Galaxy 4S Android phones makes Samsung impervious to damage at the moment, yet Nokia has reason to fear Facebook’s teaming with HTC. Since falling below Sony in the Indian market for Q4 of 2012, there is little room left to drop.