Facebook has unveiled its anticipated Home extension for Android, which the social networking giant described as a “new way to turn your Android phone into a great, living social phone”. Facebook Home will operate on phones running Google Inc.’s Android software and present Facebook status updates, messages and other content on the home screen, rather than require people to check apps on the device.
Central to Home is a new cover feed, which replaces the existing lock screen and home screen on smartphones. It is described as “a window into what’s happening with your friends”, delivering content “for those in-between moments like waiting in line at the grocery store or between classes when you want to see what’s going on in your world”.
Also included in the proposition are “chat heads”, which deliver messages from friends to users over the top of other apps in use – “whether you’re checking email, browsing the web, or listening to music”. In addition to Facebook messages, the “chat heads” also support SMS.
And activity notifications will also be used to alert consumers to new content.
“Home is a completely new experience for your phone,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Founder and CEO. “With Home available right out of the box, you’re getting the best quality experience for connecting with your friends.”
Android users can download the app from the Google Play store starting April 12. But only six devices – HTC First, HTC One, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note II – will initially support the new Facebook Home app. The Facebook Home app will soon be available for other Andrid devices.
Facebook has also teamed up with Taiwan based HTC and launched HTC First, which is Home-optimized smartphone. HTC First has a 4.3-inch glass display and runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) with the new Facebook Home experience. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with dual-core CPU. The HTC First will be available in four colours – black, white, red and pale blue.
AT&T was the first operator named as supporting the device by Facebook. AT&T will charge $99.99 with a two-year contract. The phone will also be available from April 12. However, user can pre-order it immediately.