Similar to how the HTC One has a live Flipboard-like interface for its home screen, Facebook Home will put updates from the social network right on the home screen via a feature called Cover Feed. Content from Facebook takes up the entire screen, with no navigation or “chrome” whatsoever. Apps are still there, accessed through a launcher that is accessible by swiping up.
There’s also a Chat Heads feature that will help you “manage your conversations with friends” via Facebook Messenger. Here’s video of Zuck talking it up at today’s event.
Android owners with the latest Facebook app will get a message to update to Home, which will be available April 12.
And, as promised, there is a Facebook phone in the form of the HTC First, which is basically a phone with Facebook Home pre-loaded. It will be available at AT&T on that same date for $99.99 with a two-year contract. Less a Facebook phone, it’s more like a device that revolves around the Facebook app. ABC News reports:
The new product, which resides on the home screen of Android phones, is a family of apps designed to help people share things with their Facebook friends. Rather than seeing a set of apps for email, maps and other services when they first turn on their phones, users will be greeted with photos and updates from their Facebook feeds. There will be ads too, eventually.
The big picture is that Facebook is trying to capitalize on the mobile moves that users are making. Stats show that an increasing number of people are accessing Facebook on their smartphones and tablets. So creating a device that has Facebook at its heart is basically drawing more users who will spend more time on the social network. Moreover, the advertising revenue possibilities are huge. The LA Times says Facebook has already made $305 million in mobile ads for the last three months of 2012, a quarter of total ad revenue.
“EMarketer Inc.’s forecast calls for Facebook to bring in $965 million in U.S. mobile ad revenue in 2013,” the paper reports.
So, will you be downloading the new app, or buying the HTC First?