Ever since Facebook sent out invitations to an event with the phrase “Come see our new home on Android,” printed on them, we’ve been getting all hot under the collar at the prospect of seeing the much-rumored, often-denied Facebook Phone. Talk has since centered on the arrival of a launcher-style app for Android named Facebook Home, and the HTC First, the device on which Home may make its debut. The wait is now over, has Facebook put an end to the speculation and given us what we expected?
CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage and began the event by saying, “Today we’re going to talk about that Facebook Phone,” before explaining what the company really wanted was to alter our phones to be about people, instead of being about apps like they are now. To this end, it launched a family of apps named Home.
It’s installed on an Android phone, and you, “see your world through people, and not apps.” As the most recent rumors indicated, it replaces the home screen and lock screen of your phone. Cover Feed is the screen which greets you, and provides a stream of photos and updates from your news feed. It also makes it really easy to Like a post, as all it takes is a double tap.
Apps are accessed by pressing and holding your profile picture at the bottom of the screen, then using a gesture to open the app draw or Messenger. Notifications from Facebook are displayed on your Cover Feed, where they can be quickly swiped away once you’ve seen them, and shortcuts to status updates, location check-ins and photo sharing are placed at the top of most launcher pages.
Facebook Messenger is incorporated, and uses a system called Chat Heads, where your chats appear as profile pictures dotted around the screen, so you’re always aware who you’re chatting with, and how many messages are waiting. Tap it, and a conversation window opens over whatever else you’re doing.
Facebook Home will be released in the Google Play store, but it can also be found by opening up your Facebook app and tapping an, “Install now” button. So far, Home is only compatible with smartphones, but we’re assured a tablet version is being worked on, and it’ll be out in the coming months. Facebook will be updating Home every month, bringing new features each time.
It’ll be out on April 12, but whether you’ll be able to give it a try will depend on which phone you own. Initially, Home will only be available on the HTC One X+, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2. Once they’re released, the HTC One and the Galaxy S4 will be added to the list.
If you’re a real Facebook fan, you may decide a new phone is needed to enjoy Home. If so, you’re in luck, as HTC has also launched the HTC First, where Home comes pre-loaded. It’s also out on April 12, exclusively with AT&T.