We’ve been hearing a lot concerning Facebook and their “new home on Android” and today was the day that none of us were waiting for, and so, Facebook Home was introduced to the world. While Home is certainly more of a launcher than it is a skin, it’s also a little more than a launcher is, in the sense of Apex Launcher and the default launcher are. For instance, Facebook Home is a suite of apps that bring together many aspects of Facebook and put them front and center on Android. It’s not just a launcher, and it’s not quite “a skin”.
Facebook Home comes with the ethos of “people, not apps” and with that comes much more focus on the people and interactions that we all deal with on a daily basis. To that end there are features and enhancements to the Facebook experience on Android. The lockscreen is replaced with Cover Feed which also takes over the homescreen as well. Right now, details are a little sketchy. Essentially, Cover Feed gives content and connections a place on your handset front and center, there’s no buttons or anything like that, there’s just images and messages. To double-tap is to like and to swipe to the right is to open up all of your apps. It’s all very gesture-based and fluid, you’d hardly realize this is Android, in fact it has a lot more in common with BB10 than it does our green friend.
Messaging is obviously a big part of what Facebook are pushing here as well, and with Chat heads they’re hoping to present us with the best way to communicate. Whenever you’re talking to someone, their head will appear above whatever it is that you’re doing and you can instantly talk to them. This works over SMS and presumably Facebook Messenger.
It doesn’t stop there though, notifications are sorted by friend, and not by app – you’ll be notified by a friend, rather than the app. It’s all focused on getting Facebook, and all the elements of Facebook at your fingertips. Zuckerburg spent a lot of time talking about the launcher of our smartphones, and that we look at it as many as 100 times a day.
This sort of thing wouldn’t be possible if Android weren’t so open, something Zuckerburg was more than happy to reiterate on stage today, and with that you’d expect it to be available to all Android phones. Well, no. Facebook Home is coming to a “select number” of Android devices that include the following:
It’s coming to these devices come April 12th and it’ll be coming to tablets later in the year, the question is though, are you ready for Facebook Home? Do we even need something like this?