Facebook Could Transform Mobile Phones

With more users accessing social networking sites from mobile phones, Facebook could redefine communications by issuing its own smartphoneFacebook is clearly leading the pack in the mobile Internet race. In December — in Britain alone — it racked up 5 million mobile users, against 4.5 million for all of Google’s sites combined. Google now has its own phone, platform, and app store; more Google phones will undoubtedly follow, offering — as with its new Nexus One handset — an experience tightly integrated with Google services. But given Facebook’s ever-expanding size, many mobile industry analysts are asking how long the social networking giant will be happy to work within another company’s idea of how a mobile device should look and feel.For many consumers, social networks are now the nucleus of their online existence. Being always on is hard-wired into their lifestyle. The rise of the so-called “Continuous Partial Attention” phenomenon — the desire not to miss anything, even for an instant — holds profound implications for the way we consume information. It is the impulse that has us clicking “Check Messages” on our e-mails, even when we know that they auto-update, checking our phones even when we know they haven’t rung or vibrated, and texting friends when we have nothing in particular to say.To read this BusinessWeek report in full, see:

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