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CONTENT & DOWNLOADS / INDUSTRY

Facebook: We're Home ...(On 'Droid)

By Oonagh Reidy | Friday | 05/04/2013

Social networking is taking over your phone, home screen and even your apps. Facebook finds a new Home..on Android

Speculation mounted yesterday as The Social Network was about to release its own smartphone made by HTC, but instead unveiled 'Home' software - a "living, social phone" on Androids HTC and Samsungs. 

Oh, and Home will be available on tablets too, but just not yet, reports The Guardian.

"Home isn't a phone or operating system, but its "more than just an app," Facebook's Engineering Manager, Android, Tom Alison and Product Designer, Adam Mosseri, said today.

Its a "completely new experience" where "you put your friends first" but it will only be for newer phones like Samsung Galaxy S 3, S4, and HTC's including One X and One.

This is your new Home, Facebookers.
The first phone to come with Facebook Home pre loaded will be HTC First, dubbed as "the ultimate social phone" on sale in the U.S. on April 12, not yet available in Australia, although HTC 'superphone' called 'One' goes on pre-sale today will run Facebook Home.

(Note: we just got word from HTC Oz that "there is no information on Australian availability for the First", but First will be available with Orange in France and EE in the UK shortly" so there hope yet).

Your usual app-centric interface on Android platform will now be replaced by a lot of blue Facebook action, and maybe a blow to iPhone users and less kudos for the Apple phone which has been usurped by the popularity of Google Android.

"You're going to be able to transform your Android phone into a great mobile device" says the Hooded One aka Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO, at the event held in Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California overnight.

Cover Feed, Chat heads

"Facebook isn't just a lightweight app that's running everywhere," says Zucks, noting users spend more than three times as much time on the social network as anywhere else.

Home is both your lock screen and home screen via Cover feed dubbed by Facebook as "a window into what's happening with your friends" and replaces your usual home screen, so no more tapping into the Facebook app to see the action.

You flip to see stories, and double tap to 'Like' stuff.

"The home screen is the soul of your phone.. it sets the tone. We feel it should be deeply personal," he said.

But Facebook isn't banishing your usual Android apps like Google, Maps, and YouTube either and you can swipe up to see all your apps.

"Cover feed is for those in-between moments like waiting in line at the grocery store or between classes and when you want to see what's going on in your world," said Facebook execs Alison and Mosseri.

Chat heads

Home lets you instant chat with friends when you're on the web or using apps say Google Maps or YouTube.

This instant messenger also could give Facebook more kudos against other messenger systems gaining popularity including What's App.

Chat Heads is "personal way to do messaging,"  - when you get a Facebook message or normal text, a chat head appears with your Facebook friend's face, so you know who you're chatting with.

Notifications are also getting a leg up on Home, you'll receive notifications with their profile pic. To open notifications, just tap them.

And if you don't want to deal with them right now, you can just swipe to hide them and keep flipping through cover feed until you want to see them.

Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12  (in the US only though folks with more countries to follow 'shortly') on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II.

Home will also work on the HTC One on pre order in Oz from today and Samsung GALAXY S4, and on more devices in the coming months, the network said today.

Home will also be available pre-installed on phones through the Facebook Home Program.

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