Facebook Home: A replacement for Android homescreens designed around people

facebookhome2facebookhome1Facebook today announced a new Android software integration called Facebook Home that will put Facebook services at the forefront of smartphone homescreens.

“With Home you see your world around people, not apps,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today.

Facebook Home essentially turns your phone into a Facebook smartphone. It’s a family of apps that includes Cover Feed, Messaging and Chatheads.

It will be available April 12 in the Play Store and only a few devices will be supported at launch: HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and when they become available, the One and the Galaxy S4.

The other big news was that HTC and Facebook announced HTC First, a smartphone that comes with Facebook Home preloaded. It will cost $99 and be sold exclusively through AT&T. Not many details were given on the phone’s specs.

Here’s more about Facebook Home. The Cover Feed becomes the replacement for your lockscreen/homescreen and lets you see status updates and photos without having to unlock anything or access an app. You can also comment and “like” content right from your homescreen. It takes up your entire screen and looks pretty slick.

Messaging is another key part of Facebook Home. It includes something called “Chatheads,” which uses small faces as tabs for messaging windows. Tapping on these “Chatheads” lets you respond to messages immediately without having to leave an app. For example, you could be reading an article on GeekWire on your phone and send text messages with “Chatheads” and never leave the article.

You can still access all your other apps by swiping up on a launcher icon.

Facebook also promised to update Home once a month with new features and said that its working on a Facebook Home for tablets.

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  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    I’d sure love the take of someone who has more exposure/experience with this and Windows Phone but my first read is that this could be a real threat to WP as it sounds suspiciously like “Live Tiles” but on Android (and by FB).

    Is that a valid take? Or are there differences that I don’t appreciate because I’m not hands-on familiar with either of these?

    • SilverSee

      Well the whole “people vs. apps” thing is a direct lift from Windows Phone, but my initial impression is there is little borrowing from Microsoft’s Metro design language. If anything, it’s an (attractive) Android UI.

      That said, I have wondered for more than two years why Microsoft hasn’t marketed the Facebook/Twitter/Linked-In integration more aggressively. Most people have no idea how powerful that is; my friends who are heavy into social networking are often amazed when I show it off to them.

      Now, it looks like it’s just another missed opportunity that Microsoft is so good at creating.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001080966933 Walden Gajo

        I don’t think that this is a missed opportunity for Microsoft. It’s more like a testament that they were doing things right, except that 99% of the tech journalist/bloggers out there are so embedded with Apple and Android that when Windows Phone came out they shut it down with a lot of bad reviews and pin-pointing and highlighting all the negatives of a first generation phone OS. And yet despite of that, Windows Phone is actually thriving and making strides although not in a big way considering that we already have two market leaders. You are partially right about marketing, but the way I see it is that Apple always gets a free marketing promotion from a bunch of these so called tech journalist/bloggers.
        Only time will tell in about 5 years from now who will be on top of their battles.