Take a look at that “reach friends wherever they are now” image to the left. What’s missing between the iPhone and the laptop? Ding ding ding! You’re right! A tablet.
Okay, I’m sure it was obvious. In fact, many of you may have already assumed that Facebook has a version of its Messenger for iPad. Well it doesn’t, and seeing as though it took the company quite awhile to launch Facebook for iPad, the lag comes as no surprise.
This graphic might have to change next Tuesday, when Facebook is holding an event for press to “come and see what [they're] building.” While my colleagues are hearing that this “what [they're] building” is a “big deal” – as in a “phone” or a slew of ads and other improvements – I’m hearing that one of the products that could be announced is Messenger for iPad.
Specifically I’m hearing that Messenger for iPad, replete with all the Messenger features we’ve come to love like emoticons, photosharing, read receipts, location tagging, group messaging, and the new voice-recorded messaging feature, is ready for the public eye. And basically, it’s what exists on the iPad but in a bigger format.
According to one source, the app is “totally” ready to launch on Tuesday, and if the event is indeed a series of mobile product announcements, it could “totally” fit in conceptually. Other points that back this up: We’ve heard that Messenger head Peter Deng was “cranking” a couple of days ago and Facebook partner Microsoft is killing its Messenger service exactly a month after whatever it is is being announced.
A fully fleshed-out Messenger for iPad, eventually including video chat, VoIP, and voice messages, could be another Facebook attempt at killing your home phone. The combination of cheap VoIP with Facebook’s social graph and distribution network could be enough to get people to cut back on their home phone plans and save their mobile minutes/data.
And “reaching friends wherever they are now” includes on the couch watching HBO’s “Girls” on their iPads. With voice and video, Messenger for iPad could become the way you have Sunday afternoon conversations with family or distant friends.
Other Facebook apps that need to be extended to the iPad include Instagram and Poke. It could be that Facebook is rebuilding its apps in preparation for a revamp of its core product on mobile and is starting with Messenger. In any case, Messenger for iPad is coming, so whether it’s Tuesday or not, get ready to be Messaging in a bigger format. Go iPad or go home.
Update: I’ve gotten word that a standalone Messenger for iPad is likely not happening, though a trial app was in the works when we reported on it. Basically Messenger was not seeing the growth Facebook hoped for (turns out people don’t want a messenger app PLUS a Facebook app) after Facebook’s primary app became less buggy and slow with Messages. So, nixed.