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Is Facebook Home About to Turn the Android Launchers Market Upside Down?

April 5, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

By now, we all know that Facebook is getting into the “launcher” business. Well they aren’t calling it a launcher, but that’s basically what Facebook Home is. Now Launchers aren’t a huge part of Android. In fact some people don’t even know what a launcher is. In fact I get that question all the time. So will Facebook be able to change that?

Facebook is already dominating mobile, which completely boggles my mind since their Android app is a complete piece of crap. That thing takes longer to load then a text-only webpage on a dial-up connection. I’m not exaggerating either. Nevertheless, Facebook has dominated the mobile platform, on Android, iOS and Blackberry. I think they have a Windows Phone app too for the 5 people that own Windows Phones. Facebook currently has about 1 billion active users, and 680 million of those are active on mobile. So it makes perfect sense that Facebook would want to build something that would take even more advantage of this major shift in technology. Just a few years ago everyone was spending all their time on laptops and desktops, now everyone spends the majority of their time on phones and tablets.

Now when you compare Facebook users to the number of Android launcher users, there’s a humongous difference. Google Play shows us that the most popular launcher Go Launcher Ex has between 50 and 100 million downloads. Now that’s not current installs, so there are quite a few of those that installed it and didn’t like it so they uninstalled it. Now according to Distimo, the launcher has only been installed on 6 million unique devices worldwide. Now that’s a big difference from the 680 million active Facebook mobile users out there.

So there are 680 million Facebook mobile users. We’ll estimate that about half of those are on Android, since Android has around 50% of the market share right now. So at 340 million Facebook for Android users, even if 10% of those users install and use Facebook Home it would shatter the popularity of other launches like Go Launcher Ex, Nova and Apex. Which all rank in the top 500 most popular apps on the Play Store. So with Facebook Home, will Zuckerberg bring a buzz to the launcher market? Could we see launchers coming from Twitter, Foursquare, app.net and every other social media site out there? It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

I have no doubt that Facebook Home will get more than 50 million installs, it’ll probably hit that in the first week of it being available. Especially considering right now Facebook for Android is sitting between 100 million and 500 million installs. Which is currently the most installed app on Google Play, at least of the free variety. So we’ll have to see how well Facebook Home does and if it’ll bring some attention to other launchers like my personal favorite Nova.