NEW DELHI: Facebook on Thursday announced Home, an “operating system” like app that would convert Android phones into a ‘Facebook phone’. It will change the main screen of the Android phone on which it is installed and will give users access to Facebook services.
Facebook Home is similar to Android launcher apps as it changes the homescreen of the devices as well as the way apps are accessed. When installed, it shows the Facebook updates from your friends on the home screen. It also allows users to update their Facebook status directly from the home screen.
“Today’s phones are designed around apps, not people,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an event in California, the US. He said that Facebook Home puts people first instead of apps and makes an Android phone a social device.
Facebook Home will be available for free from April 12 to Android users running the latest version of Facebook app in the coming days. In the beginning, only a handful of existing Android phones will be supported. The tablet version, said a Facebook official, would come within several months.
Facebook also announced a new phone – HTC First – that will come with Facebook Home preinstalled on it. The phone had been announced for the US market and might not be launched in India.
Facebook Home also has a messaging service called Chat Heads built in it.
This is not the first time the social networking website is making a push for a Facebook-specific phone. HTC Chacha, which was announced in early 2011, was also dubbed a ‘Facebook phone’ as it came with a dedicated Facebook button.
Similarly, this is not the first time a company is talking about putting ‘people before apps’. Microsoft had earlier introduced Windows Phone 7 operating system by saying that it focussed more on people compared to apps. Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 feature deep integration with Facebook and apps like People and Me can pull in the data from Facebook feeds at regular interval.