#facebook messenger

Ron Amadeo of Android Police scored what appears to be a very legit APK of HTC’s incoming “Facebook Phone”. Everything seems to be pretty much as expected. A couple interesting notes:

  • You’ll apparently be able to install this launcher on a number of Android devices. The HTC device should just be the pre-installed, flagship “Facebook Phone” for now. And the specs are meh.
  • There are graphics in the APK for a Google button of some sort, which points to Google Search functionality being built-in to this launcher. Again, that was basically expected since whispers have Google being okay with all of this. But it’s still a little weird given Microsoft’s stake in Facebook.

One thing I’m not sure Amadeo caught:

"Chat Heads" is a new feature included in both Orca (Facebook Messenger) and Wakizashi. Other than the new name, I’m not sure what exactly is different from the normal Messenger.

"Orca" is no doubt a codename for Messenger, as you’ll recall it arose from Facebook’s 2011 purchase of the messaging startup Beluga. Get it?

Good retort by Ben Brooks on my post yesterday about Facebook Messenger. 

I definitely agree that the combination of SMS and iMessage into one app is killer. That idea led to this initial post a while back.

But I also recognize that Messenger (or something like it) has greater potential because it’s cross-platform, whereas iMessage is iOS-only. As much as it pains me to say it, there’s always going to be a huge market outside of the iPhone. That’s just the way it is.

iMessage may very well slowly kill SMS on the iPhone, but to truly kill it, we need a cross-platform solution. Of all the ones I’ve seen, Messenger is the most compelling yet because of its seamless integration of three key areas: iOS/Android/Web.

Plus it comes with a massive installed user base. This is often overlooked in “SMS killers” and “email killers”. To kill massive things, it’s much easier to start out massive. That’s not to say a startup (a true startup, not Facebook) can’t disrupt an industry, but right now in a space like group messaging, there’s too much fragmentation. This keeps SMS alive.

That’s also not to say that Facebook Messenger for sure wins here. Certainly, there are plenty of people who don’t use Facebook and don’t want to use Facebook for anything. But with 750 million connected users, it does have the best shot right now.

All I know is that I want SMS dead. For too long it has been a racket keeping the carriers in control. Everyone is now attacking it. I love it.

Jason Kincaid and I from last March, right after Facebook acquired Beluga (about 12:20 in):

"I think that they should do a separate app that’s really kind of simple. And just easy to understand. And not roped within the app itself that they do already."

"Messaging is meant to be fast on mobile. And it’s not fast if you do it right now through the Facebook app."

"I want something where I get my push notification, I fire it up, I tap that notification and I get my messages and there’s no other cruft around it."

You’re welcome, Facebook.