The social network war

Not many people were surprised when Facebook announced a couple of months ago that 751 million users connect via mobile each month (54% more than the previous year); the trend is clear: our mobile phone will soon become the main device we use to connect to the Internet (if it isn’t already). Today I will focus on two clear examples, a failure and a success.

Many people have heard about Facebook Home, another version of Android modified by Facebook that, among other features, shows our friend’s updates on the lock screen. The company announced Facebook Home with a lot of noise, as if the rumors of the famous Facebook Phone finally became true; inviting HTC as the absolute protagonist and main provider of the experience with its new HTC First.

Were there any problems? Several, in fact: that version of Android removed many of the best Android features (such as widgets), Facebook Home is only available for a few Android phones (due to the fragmentation of the OS) and on top of all that, Facebook ended up integrating several of the Home features into its own iOS app.

The result was an obvious failure within the first few months, confirming that users dislike extremely closed environments, that in the mobile world variety and options are the recipe for success (and probably that very few people are interested in a phone that displays private information with just pressing the power button, without any password required).

An example of a successful launch is Instagram video, available for both Android and iPhone from day zero and providing an easy-to-use feature with lots of fans: creating casual videos and posting them on different social networks. In just 24 hours, 5 million videos were uploaded. Impressive.

Instagram video came as a clear response from Facebook to another social network giant: Twitter and its successful video app, Vine. Vine had a viral launch thanks to the Twitter crowd and the simplicity of those six seconds of looping video. The social network was quickly filled with creative vines, making it clear that there is an untapped market; those two months ahead of Instagram helped lay the groundwork for a battle that will take a while.

Facebook and Twitter, companies in constant movement, show that the war for the mobile world requires dynamism, variety of options and simplicity above all… and the war has just started.

Image via Facebook

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