Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg approached Samsung to make the next Facebook Home smartphone, sources claim, though the likelihood of Samsung following the ill-fated HTC First is seen as being low. Zuckerberg met Samsung Mobile’s chief, Shin Jong-kyun, during a trip to Korea this week, where, an insider told The Korea Herald, he “asked Samsung to step up cooperation” with the social network.
“Facebook has every intention of becoming the second Google,” the source explained, “and with that intent in mind, Zuckerberg is said to have asked Samsung to step up cooperation by launching a phone with a Facebook interface.”
Exactly how Samsung responded to Facebook’s supposed outreach is unclear. However, observers in Korea aren’t enthusiastic that the smartphone manufacturer will follow in HTC’s footsteps. Facebook lacks the brand cachet that Samsung is looking for, it’s suggested, and Zuckerberg isn’t offering to sweeten the deal in any financial way that could otherwise tempt the company.
Meanwhile, Facebook Home’s reception hasn’t been exactly promising. The HTC First, as the name suggests the first device to run the Home replacement launcher system, met with dire sales on AT&T, to the point that Facebook and HTC opted to cancel international launch plans. On AT&T, the phone is still available but has been slashed to $0.99 with a new agreement, from its original $99.99 sticker price.
Home is Facebook’s attempt to turn every smartphone into a de-facto “Facebook Phone”, rather than developing its own hardware as has frequently been rumored. A deal with Samsung, which is currently riding high on the Android wave with the Galaxy S 4, could have proved more popular than the HTC device, if Facebook could have capitalized on the Galaxy halo-effect.
Interestingly, observers in Korea point out that Zuckerberg did not meet with representatives from LG when he visited the country, perhaps implying that we shouldn’t expect an LG Facebook Phone any time soon.