Facebook unveiled its newest plans for the Android mobile operating system. The new software is based all around Facebook and as they say “Today’s phones are designed around apps, not people”, which in Mr.Zuckerburg’s eyes is all wrong. It should be designed around people first, so here we are with Facebook Home, a layer that runs atop of Android. Let’s look into this latest attempt by Facebook to get deeper into our lives.
Facebook Home layers
“You don’t need to fork Android”
Facebook Home is an entirely new and different approach to the smartphone and rightly so when trying to center your phone around the people in your life. This makes sense when you look at the statistics where it’s apparent that, on average, 25% of time spent on your phone is with Facebook. Facebook wanted to bring their service forward to you without “forking Android” (disturbing the Android experience).
Facebook Home Coverfeed
Keeping this in mind, the first thing you see when your screen turns on is an immersive and dynamic full screen feed of everything going on in your Facebook universe. This is called “Coverfeed”. What it does is merge your lock screen and home screen into a single entity that just shows you a constantly updating feed of your Facebook updates. It’s the perfect thing for the person that switches on their phone to get into the Facebook app, but for everything else it’s just simply an extra step to go past. I can already see people trying to get into their phone to quickly make an important phone call, but then they are faced with the Coverfeed which will either annoy to no end as you try yo get to the phone app or make you forget why you switched on your phone in the first place. I think that this is what Facebook is going for, to get you into their service. They want you to be using 95% your phone is in your hand and the reason for this is down the line you will get full screen ads, which will no doubt be a huge source revenue.
You can find our detailed facebook home review here
Facebook Chat Heads
“Yup”, there will be ads in Coverfeed.
Coverfeed didn’t really ‘wow’ me, but this next feature I can really see myself using often. It’s dubbed “Chat Heads”, terrible name by the way. It incorporates Facebook Messenger into every nook and cranny of Android. It will keep running in the background, and I suspect it will keep you online, then when you get a message a small bubble or circle with the sender profile pic appears on the right edge of the screen. It will have a badge that shows the new message count. When you tap on the bubble or “Chat Head” it will expand into a mini messaging window on top of what you are doing. Once you are done reading the messages and replying, you can either swipe the Chat Head away to close the chat or thread or just minimize it into a bubble that sits on the edge of the screen. When it gets in the way you can flick it to a different part go the screen accompanied by some cool cut-the-rope style physics. This is probably the only feature I’d like to see make its way to iOS. It integrates SMS and Facebook messaging.
Facebook Home Navi
Home is a very gesture oriented which is very apparent from the absence of switches, toggles and sliders found in other operating systems. It’s a mixture of swipes and long presses. Facebook just expects you to swipe along in Coverfeed and occasionally go in and out of Chat Heads. At the bottom of the screen there’s a bubble with your profile picture in it. It’s been called “the Bobble” and it acts like a custom home button just for Facebook. When you hold down on the Bobble then you are presented with 3 options: the Apps, the Messenger app and your most recently used app. It disappears when you swipe through the Coverfeed. There are some Coverfeed notifications that are similar to the iOS lock screen notifications. Weirdly enough that these notifications only appear for select apps and services unless you have a smartphone designed specifically for Facebook Home, like the HTC First).
Facebook Home Devices
Is it worth getting addicted to Facebook all over again?
Facebook Home seems to be the right strategy that Facebook has taken. Instead of creating an entire smartphone that would find little or no traction in this smartphone game, they created a piece of software that can exist on any of those millions of Android phones out there. This is very advantageous for Facebook as it puts them in a position to take over Android with minimal effort and zero bad press. Facebook Home will be available on April 12th for a the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II, HTC One X, One X+ and the One. I’m curious as to why there’s no love for the Nexus 4. More devices will be support in the coming months as Mark Zuckerburg promised us monthly updates including newer designs and newer features too. Facebook has assured us that Home will reach tablets, but not for several months. Facebook Home looks promising, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s worth getting addicted to Facebook all over again.