Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announce to the world his companies plans for Android-based phones. It’s called Facebook Home or Home. This new direction for Facebook intends to put “people first instead of apps.”
Home isn’t a new OS or derivative of Android but it does modify your device’s home screen and provide you with an app launcher. Let’s look at some things you need to know about Facebook Home before you decide to install it on your device.
Facebook Home Changes the Way You Use Your Phone
By modifying the home screen and including an app launcher, Home will change the way you use your phone. Facebook is at the forefront and in your face every time you turn on your phone.
Your lock and home screen will default to Cover Feed. The Cover Feed features notifications, status updates, and photos that you would normally see in your News Feed on Facebook. Notifications from other installed apps will also be pushed to Cover Feed.
Floating Heads Might Creep You Out
One feature of Facebook Home that I find equally annoying and disturbing is the floating chat heads. These heads (based upon and avatar) pop-up over apps when you receive a message via SMS or Facebook.
These chat heads float on top of your apps and allow you to respond to messages without having to exit the current app you’re using.
Facebook Home Wants to Be Your Hub
Facebook Home is clearly designed to take over your phone. All activity on your phone is intended to originate from Facebook’s hub. This changes the focus of your phone from using apps to using Facebook.
Does Facebook Home Track My Activity?
I’m going to throw this one over to a Mashable article that I found helpful:
While Facebook Home won’t feature ads — for now — it’s inevitable that Sponsored Stories will find their way into cover feed.
Still, for users that fear Facebook Home will provide lots of data to Facebook about what you are doing and where you are, the company says it will not actively track a user’s GPS location.
Moreover, as Mashable’s Alex Fitzpatrick reports, Facebook Home will not allow Facebook to see check-ins on other services, such as Foursquare, the user makes while Facebook Home is running. However, Facebook can and has long been able to offer location-based ads when users actively check-in to a location on its network.
When Will Home Be Available for My Device?
Facebook Home will be available on April 12th, 2013 for the HTC One, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the forth-coming Samsung Galaxy S4. you will be able to download it from the Google Play store. Support for more phones is expected to be added in the future.
In addition, the new HTC First will ship with Home pre-loaded. It’s available from AT&T and will cost $99 with a 2-year contract. Home will be integrated into the device so you’ll receive notifications from all apps, not just Facebook.
I’d expect to see Facebook Home integrated into other Android phones in the future, maybe even tablets. The good thing about this is that it could lower the cost of high-end devices because not only will the carrier provide you with a subsidy, Facebook may also pay manufacturers and carriers to put their software on devices.
Personally, I have no desire to use this. Like I said, this puts Facebook in your face. I don’t purchase a device based upon how well just one app works on it. I’m looking for a device that works well with many apps. In addition, constantly being bombarded by Facebook messages and alerts would drive me insane.
Even if Facebook Home gets really popular, I wouldn’t expect Apple to alter their plans to include skinning their phones Zuckerberg-style. The next two iPhones were developed under Steve Jobs’ watchful eye so I wouldn’t expect any changes in the near future nor Apple caving to pressure from customers.
Will you install Facebook Home on your phone? Would you buy a phone or tablet with Home integration if the price was lower?
Featured image from Techcrunch.com