Thursday, April 4, 2013
Facebook unveils a new home screen for Android devices
It was a big day for Facebook, as Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, unveiled "Facebook Home," a slick interface for the Android operation system that brings messages, photos and recent stories to the home screen of your Android smartphone.
Smartphone manufacturer HTC also announced the HTC First, the first device to have the Facebook Home interface incorporated into the Android OS. It'll also come pre-loaded with Instagram, which is another popular photo-sharing service owned by Facebook that utilizes a twist of photo filters for cool effects.
The Facebook gurus views the home screen as "the soul of your phone" and offers an alternative with Facebook Home, which does not need to open an app to see all your social media connections.
The ingenuity with Home begins with a virtual button at the bottom of your display that shows your face. A simple swipe up and it shows all your regular apps or you can swipe it away to hide them all.
Then the beauty of the Home interface shines with a feature called "Chat Heads," which allows messages you receive to pop up over any application currently running. A conversation can be held with your Facebook friends on top of – let's say – while using the Internet browser. The chats can be dragged around the screen and when you're done, just tap and they're gone.
Another unique feature of the Home overlay is that some of this social media interaction can go on while the phone is still locked by using called Cover Feed. This feature will allow a steady stream of photos, likes, comments and status updates from your newsfeed.
The new features will be available on April 12 on the HTC First, a 4G LTE device that will come in red, baby blue, white and black. It'll be available exclusively from AT&T for $99.99 and is now available for pre-order.
Several other Android smartphone with the latest version of the Facebook and Messenger apps will also be Home friendly. They include the HTC One, One X, One X Plus, Samsung Galaxy S3, Note 2 and the S4 when it is launched. Android tablets will come on board later, but there is not indication of when Home will play with iOS devices.
Facebook sees their new Home interface as a way to flip the smartphone home-screen experience from being designed around apps to being designed around people.
We'll have to wait and see if their latest creation gets any "Likes" from its one billion users.