Facebook just finished up its media event, and to our surprise, most of the discussion was not about a new smartphone. Instead, it was about Facebook’s new ‘Home’ launcher for Android devices that promises to put “people first in an app first world.”
Home’s not a forked version of Android, but rather a deep software integration with Google’s OS that features a family of Facebook apps and a gorgeous UI. It changes the look of everything, from the Lock and Home screen to Messaging and more…
For starters, an app called Cover Feed replaces the typical Android Home screen and Lock screen, serving up updates on what your friends and family are doing without you ever having to launch an application, or even unlock your phone for that matter.
Home also has a major impact on messaging. You can start or participate in a conversation with your friends from pretty much anywhere. Just look for the round icon with the face of one of your friends, called ‘Chat heads,’ above whatever app you’re using.
Next up is Home’s revamped notifications. These alerts are sorted by friend, instead of app, and like messages, they show up pretty much everywhere. Facebook wants to make sure that you always know when someone has something new to share with you.
As I said above, Home’s UI is incredibly well designed—which should come as no surprise considering it contains several ex-iOS staffers. Everything is displayed in full-screen mode, and is gesture-controlled. Even if it’s not your style, you can’t deny its beauty.
That being said, I probably won’t ever use it. I rarely use Facebook as it is, and can’t imagine being that ‘connected’ to the social network. Plus, who knows what Zuckerberg has planned for ads—and it’s confirmed there will be ads—and user data mining.
At any rate, Home is expected to drop on April 12th. It will initially only be available on the HTC One and One X, and the Samsung Galaxy S III, S4, and Galaxy Note II via the Google Play Store, but will come pre-installed on HTC’s new First and other handsets.
When asked whether or not Home would ever land on iOS, Mark Zuckerberg responded: “We have a great relationship with Apple. Anything that happens with Apple is going to happen with partnership. Google’s Android is open so we don’t have to work with them.”
So, what do you think of Facebook Home?