Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is live on stage in Menlo Park, Calif., and he just unveiled his company’s new home on Android: called “Home”.
Facebook clarified that it’s not building a phone directly, nor is it building an operating system, instead the company unveiled “Home”. Home is for Android devices, and it is literally the home screen and “soul of your phone,” as Zuckerberg explained. Home is also “family of apps.”
9to5Google posted the first look at “Home” yesterday, but Facebook just gave a quick run down as to what the interface can really do. For instance: Cover feed, a window that replaces the lock screen and home screen, allows users to navigate by flipping through, double tapping, etc.
Users can double-tap to “Like” a post and comment right from the home screen, and they can tap their own face and swipe to get to apps. Users can also swipe up to see their favorite apps in the launcher. There’s even a screen containing all apps, so they can drag their favorite apps to the launcher. Meanwhile, notifications come from people and not apps. Each notification has a person’s face, and users can collect all notifications in a stack and either swipe or save them.
Facebook also announced a new messaging service called “Chat heads” that works with both Facebook messages and SMS. A chat head appears with in the upper right, where users can tap on them, move them, or stack them. Tapping will bring up messages.
Facebook will launch Home via Google Play on April 12, with download availability coming for tablets in a few months. Facebook will maintain Home “just like the regular Facebook app,” and it promises to issue updates at least once a month with new features.
Only a few devices are ready for launch, including: the HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and eventually the HTC One and the Galaxy S4. There’s even a “Facebook Home Program” for phone manufacturers, and HTC, AT&T, Samsung, Sony, etc., have all signed up.
Zuckerberg just handed the stage over to HTC executives to unveil the first device that will officially run the platform— the HTC First. More details on Home are in the press release and videos below.
Today we’re introducing Home – a new way to turn your Android phone into a great, living, social phone.
We all want to share and connect. That’s how we discover new information and build meaningful relationships. But today, phones are built around tasks and apps. To see what’s happening with your friends, you pull out your phone and navigate through a series of separate apps.
We asked ourselves if sharing and connecting are what matter most, what would your phone be like if it put your friends first?
Our answer is Home. Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps.
From the moment you wake up your phone you become immersed in cover feed. Cover feed replaces the lock screen and home screen. It’s a window into what’s happening with your friends – friends finishing a bike race, your family sharing a meal or an article about your favorite sports team. These are the beautiful, immersive experiences that you get through Home.
You might have missed these updates before, but now they’re a central part of the Home experience. Since Home is both your lock screen and home screen, the content comes right to you. You can flip through to see more stories, and double tap to like what you see.
Cover feed is for those in-between moments like waiting in line at the grocery store or between classes when you want to see what’s going on in your world.
With chat heads you can keep chatting with friends even when you’re using other apps. When friends send you messages, a chat head appears with your friend’s face, so you see exactly who you’re chatting with. Messages reach you no matter what you’re doing – whether you’re checking email, browsing the web, or listening to music.
You can move chat heads around and respond to messages. And since SMS is integrated into Facebook Messenger for Android, chat heads include Facebook messages as well as texts.
Cover feed is great for seeing everything going on in the world. But when something happens that’s more important and directed at you, like a friend posting on your timeline, you’ll receive notifications with their profile pictures.
To open notifications, just tap them. And if you don’t want to deal with them right now, you can just swipe to hide them and keep flipping through cover feed until you want them back.
It’s as easy to get to your apps in Home as it is on any other phone. Swipe up to see your favorite apps in the launcher. There’s also a screen containing all of your apps, and you can drag your favorite apps to the launcher.
How To Get Home
Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12. Home works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. Home will also work on the forthcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4, and on more devices in the coming months.
Home will also be available pre-installed on phones through the Facebook Home Program [link]. HTC and AT&T are the first companies working together to deliver a phone with Home. It’s called the HTC First and it goes on sale April 12.
We designed Home to be the next version of Facebook. But we also wanted to do something more. We wanted to reimagine the way we all use computing devices to make us more connected and bring us closer to the people we care about.
Download Home and put your friends front and center on your phone.