As expected, Facebook has finally unveiled its Android launcher app called Facebook Home, which would (eventually) convert most existing Android smartphones into a Facebook Phone. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, started the proceedings quipping it is finally the time for the Facebook Phone or how you can turn your Android phone to a great social phone. Facebook Home will essentially replace your Android smartphone’s skin with one customized to give a Facebook-centric appearance while retaining all the apps and other elements of Android. Facebook did not fork Android and smartphone makers can continue to give Google’s Mobile Suite of apps and services along with Facebook Home UI if they participate in Facebook Home Program. Users, meanwhile, will be able to download the Facebook Home app from Google’s Play Store starting April 12. Now let’s check out what Facebook Home is all about. Also Read - Facebook Home now works on the HTC One and unofficially on the Samsung Galaxy S4Also Read - Facebook acquires Parse for providing tools and backend services to app developers
Facebook Home is a great ploy by Facebook to increase minutes of usage while mining user data at the same time. From the minute a user switches on a phone the Facebook experience begins with Cover Feed, which is essentially photos and status updates from the user’s Facebook feed. Users can swipe through these photos or status updates, like them and even comment on them directly from the lock screen. Also Read - Facebook Messenger for Android updated, now supports Stickers in Chat Heads
Another brilliant aspect of Facebook Home is Chat Head, which combines Facebook Messenger with SMS inbox. Chat Heads appear whenever there is a new message and remains on the screen till the time the user manually removes them. These are non-intrusive and the user can continue to do whatever they were doing and even switch between apps without having to dismiss the notification or respond to it. (Check out the photo on the top right to get an idea.) Notifications on the lockscreen are also enabled in Cover Feed and one can simply tap a new notification to get into it or swipe them down to dismiss them.
Facebook Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12. It currently works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. Facebook says it will also work on the forthcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S 4. Facebook is also promising to update Home once every month to add new features and support more devices. We believe that the current list is probably just for brands Facebook has partnered with and it could in all probability work on other phones too. We will test this when the app launches.
In the meanwhile you can check all the features in detail here or just watch the videos below.