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Facebook phone? Enough with the phones; how about a Flickr camera?

Facebook phone
(CBS News Photo Illustration)

Facebook is having a fun day pitting technology Web sites against one another.

TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that the social media site is "building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they're building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware."

So, Facebook scurried over to Mashable to announce it was most definitely not building a phone.

TechCrunch fired back, writing that Facebook is not building a phone, just like Google was not building a phone, just like Microsoft was not building a phone.

The back-and-forth spat is highly entertaining to watch. The Post's Rob Pegoraro stepped into the fray to reasonably ask: "Why would Facebook want to ship a Facebook-branded phone?"

He points out that the mobile highway is littered with other companies and their failed cellphone dreams: MySpace, Mobile ESPN and Disney Mobile. Even Microsoft couldn't make any inroads with the Zune phone.

So, there may or may not be a Facebook phone. And if there is a Facebook phone, it seems like a bad idea. These Internet companies need to stop focusing on the phone. There is plenty of other products to try to dominate. Here are four suggestions for companies to try out. Let me know any you'd like to see:

The Flickr camera: The problem with so many of these new ventures is that they just seem a step too far away from the original platform. We don't use Facebook to talk to each other. We use it to see how ugly our ex-boyfriends' new girlfriends are. Stick with what you know, folks. Flickr could make a simple transition from software to hardware: cull its massive records to determine what type of camera, lens and settings its users opt for the most often. It has all its market research entered in already. I could see the camera automatically upload photos to your Flickr feed the same instant they're taken. The 5 billionth Flickr photo was just uploaded to the photo sharing site. With this new camera, I bet it could easily double that within a year.

The Shuffler.fm radio: Haven't heard of Shuffler.fm yet? Don't feel behind the times. It just launched last month, but it's already winning over fans left and right. Open another window and play it with it and then come back here. You'll love it. It's the best new way to listen to music on the Web since Pandora. The site shuffles through thousands of music blogs and plays the embedded tunes. It also opens the matching blog post so you can read up on the song as you listen along. As Wired points out, it's like "old-school radio, but with the most new-school music." So it seems a small jump in logic for the fledgling site to come up with a music player that would give us back the serendipity of stumbling upon new songs.

Rotten Tomatoes movie theaters:Something needs to save the theaters from themselves, so why not aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes? It continues to grow in influence and could easily determine which movies to stock and which movies to nix. They could take a page from the brilliant Austin chain Alamo Drafthouse and include dinner and drinks at the theater. To add a bit of kitsch, actual tomatoes could be distributed near the end so audience members could really show how they feel about a movie while it's playing. Now that's a brilliant idea.

And last, but not least...

The iPad camera: Sorry, Steve Jobs. You can tell me to leave you alone, but what were you thinking by not adding a camera to the iPad?!

(Post Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook's board of directors, while the newspaper and many Post staffers use Facebook for marketing purposes.)

By Melissa Bell  | September 20, 2010; 4:49 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: YouTube Play goes to the Guggenheim; Vimeo Awards heads to New York
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Comments

Very clever!

So I'm assuming the default setting for a Facebook phone would be where the entire world can have access to every telephone call you've ever made.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 20, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

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