Will Facebook Launch a Phone or iPad Messenger App at Tomorrow’s Big Event?

Facebook is to hosting its fourth quarter earnings call in a couple of weeks, but before we find out if their market position has improved much since their dismal IPO launch, they’ve invited the media to “come and see what we’re building” on January 15.  Thanks to this surprise invitation, Facebook’s shares have jumped 9 percent as of market closing on Friday as investors anticipate some positive developments from Facebook this year.

According to Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, this spike in Facebook’s shares is due to “investors working themselves into a hopeful lather.”

“There is growing anticipation of strong Q4 results, in particular relative to other online advertising companies. Secondly, [there is] speculation over the press event next week. Lastly, from a technical perspective the stock looks attractive…. Facebook continues to make progress with the transition to mobile, make improvements to the user interface, and bring more value to advertisers,” Sebastian said.

But Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter doubts Facebook will be unveiling something big so close to their earnings call.  Announcing anything is critical for any publicly traded company, as it could lead to plummeting shares and the lose of investor trust if people don’t like what they hear.

Still, some analysts believe that Facebook is getting ready to unveil something big for the same reason.  Topeka Capital’s Victor Anthony believes that Facebook knows how volatile the stock is and they wouldn’t be scheduling an announcement so close to their earnings call if they do not believe that it would reap positive results for the company.

So what can we expect from Facebook’s event tomorrow?  Here’s a couple ideas making their way around the circuit:

Facebook Messenger

A recent report conjectures that we may see Facebook reveal a Messenger for iPad app tomorrow, an app currently missing from their mobile foray.   Facebook already has Messenger working smoothly for phones and PCs, so it won’t be surprising to see this strategy extend to the tablet space.

According to their sources, the event will be all about mobile products/services.  Some even say that it has got something to do with Microsoft killing off Windows Messenger on March 15.  Microsoft is a Facebook partner and they may be unveiling a new Messenger which will be available a month before Windows Messenger officially says goodbye.

Project Buffy

Reports are also suggesting that aside from a new Messenger app, Facebook might finally be unveiling the much talked about Facebook phone.  The smartphone, codenamed Project Buffy, surfaced in 2011 when it was reported that the initiative had been in development for over two years.  Expected to run Android, the Facebook phone has also been said to be manufactured by HTC.  The rumors were resurrected in April 2012 and then again in November.  It’s already January 2013 and we’ve yet to see a Facebook phone, raising doubts as time goes on and the smartphone market gets more crowded.

We’ve only got a day to wait to find out what Facebook up to and if it involves a new mobile messenger and Project Buffy.  Not surprisingly, the world expects big mobile news from Facebook tomorrow.  This has been a key area of development for Facebook as the company seeks to increase revenue opportunities while keeping pace with emerging technology.

Mobile could be a great opportunity for Facebook, converging several of their efforts to contextualize the network’s social graph.  As advertising is a major focus for Facebook, mobile ads and an extended ecosystem around SoLoMo initiatives could prove lucrative.