Facebook Home offers Android users instant content on their home screen
Facebook has unveiled Facebook Home, a piece of software that effectively act as a homescreen for Android smartphones, offering instant content from the social network without the need to open a dedicated application.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that Home will offer the best mobile Facebook experience possible and was part of the social network’s target of putting “mobile first” and building smartphones around people rather than applications.
Content such as photos, statuses and events can be viewed directly from the home screen, while users can like, comment and interact directly without needing to open a dedicated Facebook application.
Facebook Home launch
SMS and Facebook messages can be viewed directly from within other applications, appearing as ‘chat heads’ on the screen. These can be dragged around or closed as desired, while standard Android applications are launched by swiping the screen upwards from the bottom.
“We’re not building a phone and we’re not building an operating system,” said Zuckerberg, but admitted that “We want this to feel like system software.”
He said that Android was chosen because it is “deliberately open” and that developers can improve almost any part of the system without significantly modifying or forking the system.
Home will be available to download from the Google Play marketplace in the US from 12 April and will come pre-loaded on the HTC First, a new smartphone announced during the launch. HTC has long been rumoured as a potential hardware partner, given that the two companies have worked together on the HTC ChaCha and Salsa devices.
Facebook mobile strategy
There is no specific UK release information but Facebook has said that it will be “sooner rather than later” and that the HTC First will be available on EE.
Facebook Home will also be compatible with the HTC One, HTC One X, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II, with more devices added each month. Tablet support will be added later this year.
More than half Facebook users access the social network through a mobile device, although it has so far failed to monetise its mobile user base successfully. The company has made this a priority, overhauling its iPhone application and acknowledging that the company had wasted two years on the wrong mobile technology.
Zuckerberg has called the decision to base its mobile services on web-based technology a huge error and that it should have built better Android and iOS applications directly on the platform much earlier.
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