Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg TV yesterday to comment on Facebook’s ambitions to amplify its presence in the mobile market. Kirkpatrick dispelled rumors that Facebook intends to launch a new phone, but said the company has plans to release a layer of software that will appear on the home screens of specific HTC smartphones. According to Kirkpatrick, this represents “the beginning of a whole series of Facebook initiatives in mobile that will probably lead ultimately to a lot more people having a home Facebook screen when they turn on their phone all over the world.” Why launch on Android phones? To begin with, Apple won’t allow Facebook to do it on the iPhone, and, said Kirkpatrick, Android is “a more malleable, more open system” that gives phone makers, and their partners, more flexibility. Not to mention that Android has the lion’s share of the global smartphone market.
Looking ahead, Kirkpatrick pointed to the potential for a Facebook partnership with Samsung, saying, “Samsung is the partner Facebook ought to want to have most closely associated with it, because then they could get real volume and scale.” Kirkpatrick believes that ultimately Facebook will seek out partners so that it can get its new “home software” on as many phones as possible. He speculated that Facebook will also find a way to have a much larger role in calling and messaging on smartphones, which could be a game-changer in mobile ad revenue.