Instead of producing their own smartphone to compete with established players in the market, Facebook created their own Android UI that can hijack other phones to give that Facebook phone experience.
Yesterday, Facebook announced their own Android UI layer, the Facebook Home, along with the first device that gets it out of the box, the aptly-named 4.3-inch dual-core HTC First.
The phone is nothing special in today’s standards but the Facebook Home is something unique and interesting compared to other UI layers and launchers available to Android. Instead of focusing on apps and widgets, Facebook Home puts your social life front and center on your phone.
With a built-in app called Coverfeed, your homescreen and lockscreen is transformed into something like your Facebook newsfeed complete with photos and status updates. Good or bad? Depends on how great your friends are in taking photos. You can also post status, post a photo, comment or like posts right from your homescreen.
Then there are what’s called Chat heads which allows you to message with your friends just about from anywhere in the phone. Click on those round icons with your friends’ faces and you’ll message them from within Facebook, or via SMS if they’re offline.
Notifications play a huge role in any smartphone as it informs you that a certain event just happened on an app that requires attention. In Facebook Home, notifications are sorted by friend, instead of app. You’ll know if a friend just posted a new Instagram, checked in to a place, or posted a status on your timeline.
Clearly, Facebook Home is there for those who wants to have the closest Facebook experience as you can get on a smartphone. It’s clearly not for everyone but Facebook is putting it out on Google Play (mid-April) for you to try out. It will initially be available on the HTC One and One X, and the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II.
It’s new. It’s different. But do you really want Facebook to be the star of your phone? Or do you really want to use a photo of what your friend ate as your wallpaper? Do leave a comment and tell us what you think of this new UI.