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Would you buy a Facebook phone?

If Facebook manages to navigate the minefield that is the current smartphone market, would you even buy one?

Facebook has invited press to its Palo Alto HQ in the US on Wednesday to unveil some big mobile news, with some speculating that this might be when the social-networking company introduces the world to a Facebook-branded smartphone.

(Credit: CBSi)

At first blush this may seem like an ill-advised move in a market where renowned manufacturers, like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, are struggling to maintain brand loyalty. How could a company, albeit one as large as Facebook, hope to steal customers away from Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung and HTC? How could it succeed where others, like Google, have recently failed?

Firstly, you have to remember that accessing Facebook via smartphones is a huge business. Australian telcos have told us on several occasions that Facebook could account for up to 80 per cent of web traffic on Aussie networks, and Facebook believes it has 150 million of its members actively accessing their accounts via phones. Though some might consider Facebook an essential experience of their smartphone, the company still has to be sure it delivers a well-rounded experience.

As such, this mythical Facebook smartphone would need to run on an established platform, probably Google Android, and it would be greatly assisted if it was designed and manufactured by one of the big names in the business. It would also need a custom designed and unique Facebook experience, something you couldn't find on the wide range of phones that currently offer a rich Facebook application. In fact, this is the hardest part of the equation; what could a Facebook phone offer that you can't already achieve with a top-shelf Android device or the iPhone?

If they manage something unique, would you be tempted to give a Facebook phone a shot? Leave a comment below and tell us what would make or break a phone like this.