Facebook’s Big Android Announcement Was A Launcher
Matt St-Georges / 5 years ago
Facebook’s Android event took place last night and we now know what that entailed. The HTC First was revealed and it will be the first and only smartphone (for a while) to be built with the newly announced Facebook Home. The mobile is currently available for pre-orders exclusively at AT&T for $99.99 and will be in stores on April 12th.
I bet you’re wondering what Facebook Home is. Well it’s not a phone nor is it a modified OS. It’s an Android-based OS with a custom Home launcher so it doesn’t quite look like Android, kind of like the Kindle Fire. The major difference with here though is the launcher will focus on friends instead of apps.
“From the moment you turn on your phone, you see what friends are sharing,” stated one of the Facebook Home commercials. “Your latest messages, calls and updates are right up front. And you can keep chatting from any app. So no matter what you’re doing, your friends are always right there with you.”
The equivalent of the lock screen here is called “Cover Feed.” It has basically the same function except you’ll see an auto-updating Facebook news feed.
“You might have missed these updates before, but now they’re a central part of the Home experience,” Facebook adds. “Since Home is both your lock screen and home screen, the content comes right to you. You can flip through to see more stories, and double tap to like what you see.”
The messenger app is called “Chat Heads.” When you receive a message, their face will pop up in a bubble on the right hand side, with a text bubble. This means whether you are watching Netflix, surfing the net or tweeting, that stuff will pop up regardless. This also includes SMS, which will be different colored than Facebook messages.
The next feature introduced was “Notifications.” If you already use Facebook, you already receive these. They will propagate the screen much like iOS notifications, it’ll be a small card letting you know what’s going on.
Lastly there’s the “App Launcher” section. Again, this one is self explanatory, it let’s you view your apps and launch them. Much like other Android devices, you can drag them out of there and onto the main home launcher.
“Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12,” Facebook said. “Home works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. Home will also work on the forthcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4, and on more devices in the coming months.”
No Facebook Phone. No Facebook OS. Just Facebook Home. It’ll be interesting to see who, if anyone jumps on the HTC First. I’m willing to bet it won’t be many, since you can download it on many other devices anyways. Plus Facebook doesn’t really carry the power it used to have.