Facebook unveils Android Home screen and app family

Facebook isn't building its own phone, but it wants to make yours more social

No, Facebook is not building its own smartphone.

The company shot down speculation yet again today that it has a phone under wraps. Instead, the social network unveiled a home screen, along with a family of apps, for Android phones.

"There is no phone," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO, taking on the latest rash of rumors at the company's announcement today. "We are going to talk about how you're going to be able to turn your Android phone into a great, simple social device."

The Facebook-focused home screen, which will arrive first for smartphones and later on for tablets, has been dubbed Facebook Home. The launcher is designed to work with the apps you already have on your phone, along with Facebook's new line of apps.

Home isn't an operating system. It sits on top of the Android operating system, essentially as a user interface (UI) wrapper.

It's scheduled to be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12.

"Everyone has their phones with them all the time and they just want to know what is going on, no matter where they are," said Zuckerberg, noting that people generally look at their phone's home screen about 100 times a day. "It's just about saying connected with what's going on in your world.... The home screen is really the soul of your phone."

Home is designed to bring you directly into your social network with a feature called Cover Feed, which replaces s phone's traditional lock screen and home screen. It means the first thing you look at when you pick up your phone is giving you information about what your friends are doing, a family birthday party or your favorite sports team's big win.

Chat Heads is a new app that lets you chat with friends even while you're doing other things in your phone.

You could be listening to music or writing an email, and your friend's face will pop up on the screen if he or she is trying to reach you. Chat Heads will offer access to text and Facebook messages.

According to Facebook, Home works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and the Samsung GALAXY Note II. Home also will work on the upcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4.

HTC and AT&T are the first companies working together to deliver a phone with Home. The HTC First, which goes on sale April 12, is available for preorder from att.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile apps in Computerworld's Mobile Apps Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediasmartphonesinternetGoogleFacebookAndroidhtcconsumer electronicsmobile appsInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?