Facebook Home, a new “family of apps” that turns any Android phone into a new immersive social experience from boot, was unveiled on Thursday by Mark Zuckerberg at the company HQ in California.
The new Facebook software integration brings Facebook services front and center, and apps second.
What is Facebook Home
Facebook Home isn’t a phone OS, it’s just a family of apps
Facebook Home is a piece of software package as a mobile phone app that users will be able to download for free at the Google Play Store. It basically replaces your current home screen experience and adds a new set of apps, turning the device into a social phone — Just to make it clear, Facebook Home isn’t a new phone operating system is simply a family of apps.
Let’s go over the features in the upcoming “Facebook Phone” software:
Cover feed is the name for the new phone home screen and it shows live content of all your friend’s photos and messages without unlocking your phone or having to open an app. In the case there isn’t a picture for the latest update, the social network will include your friend’s Cover Photo as background.
While in the Cover feed, if tapped will immerse you into the new experience. Double tapping though, will like the photo on display with a new thumb-up effect and sound.
The buttons at the bottom of the screen can be used to leave comments on those photos.
A key feature of Facebook Home is messaging, which the company calls Chat heads and it is all around the new experience. The round-shape icons with the image of the one in the conversation will appear on top of any app you are using. By tapping the icon will bring up the chat interface, where you can continue the conversation; it works with Facebook messaging and SMS, but using Chat Heads will make you lose sense of which service you’re using.
The app launcher is the place that holds all your favorite apps and you can rearrange those apps in any order you want. It also provides an easy way to post an update or upload a photo to your Facebook account. Almost everything about the new software is to make the services that Facebook offer more accessible and easy to use with the goal of being always signed-in and engaged in the social network.
Facebook notifications are also part of the experience and they will show up in the center of the screen. If something important happens, such as a friend adding a new update in your Timeline, you’ll get a notification together with their profile pictures.
Opening a notification is as easy as tapping it. And if you don’t want to read it, you can swipe it away.
Facebook is also taking the same approach that Microsoft is using in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with the chromeless design with no navigation, putting the content front and center, and making the phone all about “you”.
When and How
On April 12th Facebook will release “Home” at the Google Play Store
Facebook will release Home for free at the Google Play Store on April 12. Once it’s installed a reboot will be required, and then at boot the user will be prompted to choose if they are sure they want to switch or try “Home”, or continue with the current Android experience.
Which devices will support Home
Facebook Home will work on the Samsung GALAXY S III, Samsung GALAXY S4 and Samsung GALAXY Note II, HTC One X, HTC First, HTC One X+ and with the HTC One — Don’t worry if your phone isn’t listed because the company is planning to support more devices in the coming months.
The social network giant will also offer a program where companies can sign-up and if they meet the requirements, they can pre-install Facebook Home on their own devices. This is a good approach from Facebook and mobile device manufactures, because it will make people feel like it is actually a Facebook phone, but in reality it’s an Android phone optimized to spend more time in the social network.
Facebook has no plans to build its own phone hardware
Even though the software pretty much makes an Android phone a Facebook phone, the company noted that it isn’t building its own hardware.
Facebook Home will also have a tablet version, but it will be available months after the phone version of Home is released.
At first Cover Feed’s messages will not include advertisements, however the social network already noted that ads will be part of the new experience.
For more information also visit the new Facebook Home web page.