Fancy a new home? Perhaps you’re not homeless per se but are just an avid fan of poking and endless chit chat coupled with a high affinity for “liking” everything. Well, Facebook has something that you’ll like: Home. Facebook Home is what the social networking giant hopes will eventually get every one of their current 1 billion users more hooked to the service and also drive revenues in the near future when it starts rolling out ads.
Here are few tidbits about Facebook Home that you need to know.
Facebook Home. What Is It?
Think of it simply as a Facebook launcher. Instead of going for an operating system of its own, Facebook chose to modify Android slightly and just add a small layer on the surface that will ensure better integration of Facebook apps and services. Unlike Amazon which totally skinned Android for its Kindles, Facebook has modeled Home as such though it is what most bloggers and online commentators think it is. No, it is an interface that centralizes access to key Facebook apps and services like Chat, Messaging, Notifications, Photos and access to the Newsfeed. The aim is to have the user have Facebook as the heart of the phone even though other apps too can be accessed.
On the other hand, Facebook Home is what many of the Android purist brigade will be quick to label as “bloatware” since to most, the Facebook for Android app is already more than enough.
Facebook Home will have features like:
- Cover Feed – Look at this as a type of Newsfeed that is totally resident on a device. If you install Home on your smartphone this is what will replace your lockscreen. It acts, as the name suggests, as the “cover” of the whole Home interface. On it you’ll see random images picked from your Facebook timeline/newsfeed with quick options of liking the photos, tagging friends on it or commenting. All directly from what was previously your homescreen. For those who will get the Facebook Phone, the HTC First, this will also have more features. It will take the role of your current lock screen with widgets of sorts and quick info displayed directly e.g number of new messages.
- Chat Head – Think of this as a circular pop up window of the GO SMS Pro app or Handcent SMS. All these text messaging apps have a pop-up feature whereby incoming text messages are displayed on your screen regardless of whatever you’re doing and can quickly be read, replied or deleted. Chat Head will be like this and a little more different. If you get a new message from your Facebook friends, it appears on the screen regardless of whatever it is that you were doing. The friend’s profile picture remains on the screen and you can quickly reply. It will also stick around at the top right corner or whatever you decide to place it; you can even remove it altogether until the next time you receive a message from your Facebook friend(s). To avoid confusion between messages from Facebook and your ordinary text messages, Chat Head places all of them together so that you reply to either directly without bothering to switch apps.
- Notifications – Android is well known for its great notification system that others have replicated elsewhere with little success. Facebook taps into this so that notifications from the social networking giant are more prominent than notifications rom any other apps you have installed on your device. I don’t know if this will still be the case with those who install Home on their devices or it will only apply to the Facebook Phone alone.
Interesting things to note:
- Facebook has hinted at a Nexus-style Facebook Home Program whereby OEMs can make a device that will have Home at its core by following guidelines set out by Facebook for such devices under the program so as to maintain the desired user experience.
- The HTC First is the first device that will showcase the deeper integration of Facebook on devices as it wants it to be, something it has had to scale down to create Home for other Android devices.The HTC First does not have the striking looks of the HTC flagship smartphone for 2103, the HTC One, but it has some specs that won’t have many mumbling. It packs a dual core Snapdragon 400 processor, a 4.3 inch display and will run on Android Jelly Bean. So far there is only talk of Facebook partnerships with foreign carriers AT & T, EE and Orange UK so it is not yet known whether this device will be available in other markets as well.
- A tablet version of Home will be coming later on. At least that’s what Facebook is saying.
- Facebook Home will be available on Play Store on April 12th. It will be available on a small host of Samsung and HTC devices. These are: Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, HTC One X, HTC One X+ and the HTC One. Some popular devices like the Nexus 4 will miss out on this first roll out. Facebook has promised to be updating Home every month and expand availability to other devices so if you’re Facebook junkie then cross your fingers, you could get a new home soon.
- For now Home won’t be accompanied by any advertising but as is now testament on your Newsfeed, expect these to pop some time later. Facebook has its own deep search integration and also a search deal with Bing, a competitor of Google’s Search. Google gets its Android revenues mainly through ads in search and elsewhere in the Android ecosystem so while there’s no heat no, it will be interesting to see how this pans out, particularly on Home for non-Facebook specific devices.
Referenced SOURCE. Image: Facebook