MIR: Dump S60 on your N95 and install the Facebook OS instead?

Foreword by Ewan Macleod: Maybe it’s the 24 hour sound of money being well and truly spunked up the wall as you walk through the casinos or the plastic nature of Las Vegas that gets to you after one or two days — whatever the catalyst, James Whatley has found himself undergoing several epiphanies this week, most notably when it comes to S60, Facebook and phone user interfaces. Hit it, James…

facebook

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Before you all call “April Fool”, this idea came around when I was invited along by Debi Jones of Mobile Jones to attend a roundtable discussion hosted by Airwide and MobileMessaging2.com entitled:

Web 2.0 comes to Handsets – New Issues and Upside for Monetizing the Mobile Web

It started with a brief overview from Steve Bratt, CEO of the W3C about Web 2.0 and the similarities with the Mobile industry etc… And then we broke out into four separate groups to each discuss particular questions.

Our table had the not so easy task of answering the following:

“What are the three capabilities consumers will want in the future and what can the mobile industry do to help enable this?”

So, aside from the obvious “Consumers have NO IDEA what they want!” rant I could’ve launched into, I was sitting there with a few folk chucking around such themes as personalized UI, location-based services and, my personal favourite, passive contextual awareness, (I’ll come back to this one at a later date).

Chatting away, sharing ideas, brain working overload… I had an epiphany:

Scrap S60, give me facebook!’

The people at the table looked at me a little dumbfounded and I went onto explain it further…

“Rip out the standard UI in this handset (waving N95) put in facebook!”

The comments came thick and fast:

“Well, I like MySpace. Can’t I have a MySpace phone?”

“Didn’t Helio do that already?”

“Yeah. But you customize the UI couldn’t you? Give users that choice…”

“Ok. Give users the choice to customize their UI…”

“Blah blah blah…”

And that was cool and ok, it answered one of the three things we had to find and stuff… However, I think this is something that bears further thought.

What is Facebook?

By its own definition it is a Social Tool.

(Not a Social Network – You and your friends are the Network, not facebook – remember that one kids).

What is a mobile phone?

Also a Social Tool.

So my question is this: Why not converge the two?

I’ve spoken about facebook in the past and how the users can be segmented in different ways etc. But fundamentally, at the most basic level, facebook is when you think about it an extremely active contacts/address book, right?

Right.

Pour that into a handset and what do you get?

I’ll show you:

Your Contacts? Sync’d with facebook Friends.
But not only do I get numbers I also get pictures, updates, status etc.

Your Calendar? Sync’d with facebook Events.
But you get more detail, who’s coming etc (all linked across the different apps etc)

Your Games? Scrabulous anyone?!

What about SMS/Email/MMS? You’ve all sent a facebook message before right?

Your Camera? No change here. Oh, aside from photos being stored to your facebook gallery.

And Fun apps? If you read this blog I’m going to assume you’ve installed an app onto your phone before. You may well have even installed an app on your facebook too… see the link?

Don’t forget the Internet? Ahh… Here’s the killer see.

Facebook currently has no internet per se. No search. No Google box etc… That would be your link off and out of the facebook garden as it were. But hey, you never know with fb – they may well have Search on their roadmap.

Thinking about mobile search, searching the handset, like the current desktop search on the N95 or ‘Finder’ on any MacBook, would be like facebook!

Searching for “mobile geeks” and i’d be shown the event, the group and also any and all of the contacts in my address book that are part of said party.

What about my favourite app, Jaiku? Build it in.

Status updates on facebook? The mini-feed? That becomes your life-stream right there.

It could work.

Think about it.

The number one thing that people hate about changing handsets is relearning the UI: “Aww man, I’m still getting used to it” etc…

What if the UI was the same?
What if you knew how to use the UI before you took the thing out of the box because it’s the same UI that you use every day on Facebook?
And all that’s before we even begin to talk about the trusted relationship that the consumer already has with facebook as a brand…

Ok, so – taking a breath – maybe the web UI is not built to work on a phone. Maybe having a “facebook phone” would be almost as bad as Helio’s “MySpace Phone”.

But why not have the facebook engine running underneath a very basic UI. With all the information embedded and layered underneath each contact or event or picture, creating context sensitive content…Makes sense huh?

I guess what I’m getting at is the ideas and principles behind the semantic web, on your mobile.

It doesn’t have to be facebook. It could be anything. Just join the dots.

What do you think?

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9 thoughts on “MIR: Dump S60 on your N95 and install the Facebook OS instead?”

  1. What do you think Ovi is mate? Nokia realizes that people want to have contextual information about their friends, events, images, videos, etc.

    They’re going to do their best to make the Ovi experience the best it can be while still letting people like Facebook and MySpace plug into some sort of extension framework on S60 handsets.

    Why do you think Google purchased Jaiku? Services begin with the individual and Jaiku not only aggregates your random thoughts, but the RSS feeds of the services you use.

    You’re dream is one many other people will soon tune into as this whole “mobile internet” thing clicks in the minds of millions across the world, the normobs. The implementation however, that will take at least one cellphone generation, which is to say 18 months or more.

    Stefan Constantinescu’s last blog post..Verizon: We’re revamping our stores, too

    [Reply]

  2. Further to Stefan’s comments about Jaiku as a mobile front-end, how about mixing it up with googletalk, spinvox and grand central?
    I’m hoping that something like this will be an option for Android.
    Colour me optimistic . . .

    [Reply]

  3. You discussed the lack of ‘joined-up-ness’ in the S60 UI here before (I think? It was part of your post about Nokia’s new stuff, iirc). I think what you really want isn’t necessarily anything to do with the established web-brands, it’s just the kind of interconnectedness that is a default assumption, an absolutely basic functional requirement, of all the social networking sites and tools we’ve seen arise over the last few years. A good question would be ‘why aren’t mobile OS developers already well ahead of us on this point?’

    The main thing that your phone doesn’t have (yet?), that FB, Jaiku, LJ, etc, all do have, is an awareness of your connections to other people, levels of trust etc. I have Pizza Hut in my phone, doesn’t mean I want them to know when I’m throwing a party. Even if they are my preferred caterer ๐Ÿ˜‰

    [Reply]

  4. @Stefan – Not sure I agree with your comments on Ovi. But that may just be down to my lack of knowledge on that topic. Need to entrench myself into Ovi some more… Learn about the possibilities etc. S’funny, I can imagine sitting round a fire, smoking a pipe when you and I are into our grey hairs discussing this further still… ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Heavylight – I mentioned ‘passive contextual awareness’ – the key thing for me there is the ‘passive’ part. The ultimate mash up is a fantastic vision to look forward to. There are so many different tools out there right now that ENABLE and EMPOWER users to create new ways of using their handsets. Take my recent Geo-Tagging piece as an example… Having this .. ‘consumer sandbox’ ..as it were will unleash so much new thought and innovation.
    No doubt in the same way that the internet did when the web became truly OPEN.

    @Denny – Yes mate, you’re right. ‘Joined-up-ness’ is the future! ๐Ÿ˜€ – On your point on Pizza Hut: I see what you mean… Again, I point towards the passiveness.

    My calender (facebook/outlook/ical) says I have a party.
    I click and see attendees from my contacts book.
    I click on your name and I see that you came to the last party.
    Not only that but I also see that you ordered the pizza too. The number you dialled, the food you bought, how much it was etc…

    It’s all there.

    It’s just tie-ing it all up. A bit more ‘joined-up-ness’ if you will ๐Ÿ˜‰

    James Whatley’s last blog post..CTIA Sneak Peak!

    [Reply]

  5. Dude that is the greatest thought I have ever heard about then Symbian devices. I have dreams of total interconnectivity of all our communication devices, paper less offices and the ability to share information at privacy desiccating levels; I have no need for privacy as I have nothing to hide form anybody and never will. I am smart enough to keep the keys to my important records and service safe for irresponsible people.

    I completely understand the phrase “DUMP S60 and replace with FACEBOOK!” however such extreme measures are not required to achieve this, Windows Live Messenger integrates into the messaging and contact systems of Symbian. I don’t see why some talented coder could not write an add-on application to perform all of what you have described, with no need to modify firmware.

    However perhaps Goggles Android OS could be the platform to achieve such extreme social networking.. (oh sorry,) tool.

    I own 2 of the N95-2 and am planning to buy an Original N95, and the N95-3, original has the highest CPU Clock speed from what I can tell but Limited RAM. And the internal Memory, can take up to 2 hours to fill the memory card via USB and over 4 hours via Bluetooth.

    I live by the motto Test it, Tweak it then Trash it. Example I played Quake 3 for over 2 hours on a single battery charge, with an external keyboard. Any thing is achievable if there is a coder with enough passion to write it.

    If you have any more of these awesome Idea’s I would enjoy sharing some of the experience I have had with these beautifully built devices, Nokia have out done my expectations of portable weapons of mass communication. Not to many people think like that or could even comprehend the idea of what you propose.

    Billman87.

    [Reply]

  6. Dude that is the greatest thought I have ever heard about then Symbian devices. I have dreams of total interconnectivity of all our communication devices, paper less offices and the ability to share information at privacy desiccating levels; I have no need for privacy as I have nothing to hide form anybody and never will. I am smart enough to keep the keys to my important records and service safe for irresponsible people.

    I completely understand the phrase “DUMP S60 and replace with FACEBOOK!” however such extreme measures are not required to achieve this, Windows Live Messenger integrates into the messaging and contact systems of Symbian. I don’t see why some talented coder could not write an add-on application to perform all of what you have described, with no need to modify firmware.

    However perhaps Goggles Android OS could be the platform to achieve such extreme social networking.. (oh sorry,) tool.

    I own 2 of the N95-2 and am planning to buy an Original N95, and the N95-3, original has the highest CPU Clock speed from what I can tell but Limited RAM. And the internal Memory, can take up to 2 hours to fill the memory card via USB and over 4 hours via Bluetooth.

    I live by the motto Test it, Tweak it then Trash it. Example I played Quake 3 for over 2 hours on a single battery charge, with an external keyboard. Any thing is achievable if there is a coder with enough passion to write it.

    If you have any more of these awesome Idea’s I would enjoy sharing some of the experience I have had with these beautifully built devices, Nokia have out done my expectations of portable weapons of mass communication. Not to many people think like that or could even comprehend the idea of what you propose.

    Billman87.

    [Reply]

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