Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed Facebook Home at an event in the company’s headquarters in California. In his words, Facebook Home is “putting people first instead of apps.” It is a combination of multiple social apps by the company, to make the Android phones more people-centric. In layman’s terms, it is like any other Android launcher with Facebook at its heart. It will integrate Facebook notifications, news feeds and messages with the overall phone experience offering you a “right at your face” Smartphone integration.
It is set to be released as a download via Google Play Store on April 12th for HTC One X/X+, Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and HTC One. It will eventually be available on more Android Smartphones with a tablet version expected to come out in upcoming months. Initially, it will only be available on Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean Android versions and will be available without ads but Mark has clearly indicated that eventually ads will find its way onto Facebook Home as well.
Here are its main Core Features:
It is a Facebook replacement of your lock screen and home screen and is a live stream from your News Feed, putting what your friends are sharing in the limelight. You can flip through image-centric stories on screen and double tap to like it.
They are unified avatar based persistent messages that can appear on top of other apps. Besides combining Facebook messages and SMS, chat heads allow you to respond to messages in a pop-up, without having to open the messages app.
These are push notifications that include updates from Facebook and other apps on the home screen. There are settings to move them away until desired later on or flick them away from view.
Swiping up your Facebook profile pic will open up the app launcher having the full drawer of your apps with the ability to add or remove as many as you want.
Brief Hands-On with HTC First
It is the first phone to ship with Facebook Home pre-loaded and is an AT&T exclusive in the US. It has a 4.3 inch LCD 720p screen with 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor under the hood. It comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 4.1 and Facebook Home. It comes with 16 GB inbuilt storage and 1 GB of RAM. It will be available with four color options red, blue, white and black and offers a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.6 MP front shooter. It has got 4G LTE along with the usual Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi (WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n) and GPS. It is available to pre-order for $99.99 with 2 year contract with AT&T and will be available starting April 12. Its regular price without contract is $449.99 with AT&T. It will be exclusively launched with Orange in France and EE in the UK.
Even though Facebook Home will provide data to Facebook about where you are and what you’re doing, Facebook says it will not actively track your GPS. Also it seems inevitable that Sponsored Stories will find their way into cover feed. Some other reports also suggest that Home will not allow Facebook to see your check-ins on other services such as Google and Foursquare. However, with the ads coming eventually to Facebook Home, it is too premature to say anything with certainty.
Videos and your thoughts
You can see Facebook Home in action in this official Facebook video and learn more about its core Features on AT&T YouTube channel here. So what are your thoughts about Facebook Home? Will you download it to your phone or will you give it a skip? Let us know in the comments.