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Will the Facebook Tablet come to market?

|Includes:AAPL, Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), MSFT

Recently while attending a conference in South America one of the presenters casually mentioned the possibility of Facebook coming out with a tablet. A lot of people are coming out with tablets but I had never heard of one specifically from Facebook. After scouring the internet I could not find much discussion along these lines at all but the idea has intrigued me all week and I thought I would put some ideas out there. First let recognize that there is really only one company I know who has been able to be highly successful on both the hardware and software side of business at the same time. That obliviously would be Apple with the iPod and iTunes combination. iTunes did $4B in revenue last year. Other companies such as Microsoft tried it with the Zune and I think we know how that ended. Google has stayed on their side of the line and I don't think anyone will disagree on how well they have done.

When I stop and think about Facebook having their own tablet a quote from one of my favorite people come to mind. "Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch had a wonderful, awful idea."  On one hand lets look at some stats. There are over 400M Facebook users today and it will probably double users within a few years. At that time almost 1 out of 8 people on the planet will be members of Facebook. That is staggering. What if there was a way they all could be connected all the time to each other? What a Mobile Advertising platform that would be.

My first thoughts on what the tablet would be like came up with a list of what the tablet can not be like. It can not be expensive like an iPad or as large as an iPad.

Next I came up with qualities of what it would need to be. First it needs to be on its own network that anyone can access for free anywhere in the world 24/7. It needs to have a very simple user interface that allows people to check Facebook for updates and post updates quickly. Low power would be a plus. Small enough to carry easily but bigger than most cell phones. Lets throw in a camera because they are almost free these days anyways.

Then I came up with perhaps my best idea yet. It needs to be free. Of course free in the Mobile Advertising world means different things to different people. This is the ultimate advertising platform in the world and has potential to reach 1 in 8 people in the future. What is that worth to advertisers? Hard to say but it is a huge number with more zeros than billion that is for sure. Lets say every major company who wanted to advertise on the "uTab", as I have named it, pays $100M for ads over the next two years. Could I find 20 companies that would do that? How about the ones I put on the back of the cover? Would Nike put their name on it for $10M? Perhaps. The possibilities are intriguing.

Some of the ideas mentioned above will be dismissed very quickly but does a worldwide free network seem completely impossible in a few years? How about a low cost handheld device that is inexpensive enough to be given away for free? Anyone get a free cell phone lately? The bottom line is people who have been offline one of the first things they do when they get access to the internet is check Facebook. How valuable to them would be a device that allowed them to stay connected for free?  From a Mobile Advertising perspective the opportunities are endless and being connected 24/7 to 1 in every 8 people is hard to imagine.

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