Apr 04 AT 2:52 PM Dustin Earley 27 Comments

Facebook officially unveils Facebook Home

facebook home

Today, after years of rumors, Facebook finally announced the real Facebook phone. Or rather, a way to turn any phone into the Facebook phone: Facebook Home. Set to release as an alternative Android launcher, Facebook Home transforms your phone into a social powerhouse, focusing on the people you talk and interact with, not so much how you do it.

The early leaks on Facebook Home have all been spot on. Initially only available on the HTC First (the first device to run Facebook Home stock out of the box), One, One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and Note II, Home comes in the form of a suite of apps, including the two flagship features of Home: cover feed and chat heads.

Cover feed is what replaces the home screen and lock screen of your Home enabled device. It’s a nearly blank canvas that features full-screen photos from your Facebook friends, chat heads and the occasional notification. Much of Home is gesture driven, with cover feed thriving on swipes and long-presses. Double tap on the current picture and you’ll instantly “like” it. Swipe to the left for another picture. Swipe up to see your favorite apps and over for the full drawer. In theory it looks very slick. But your average power user will probably go mad with such a limited arrangement.

Chat heads are the second flagship feature of Facebook Home. Chat heads, which look incredibly similar to Google+ circles, are small round moveable icons of your friends’ faces that can be used to activate a floating chat window in whatever app you’re already using. If you’re checking your email, and a chat head from your pal Mark pops up, you can use it to respond without having to leave your email. Chat heads combine Facebook messages with SMS, so if you stick to those two, you’ll never need to open a messaging app again.

According to the Facebook news release, Home will be available for the limited devices mentioned above April 12, with support for more devices and tablets added “in the coming months.” What do you think of Facebook Home?

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Source: Facebook

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • redraider133

    Hopefully this will help them improve their app, not likely but one can hope.

    • redraider133

      I agree. I mean I would not want all this on my phone but if it can lead to a better app I am all for it. Not sure how many people will buy this but I bet FB could get more to buy if they some how incentives for placing ads on their home screen like paying a portion of the data plan etc( i know I’m prob dreaming) but would make things interesting

    • aranea

      Also hopefully, this won’t be the only available android app. I don’t want a facebook launcher on my phone.

  • benjclyde

    I really don’t get it, surely the sort of people who use launchers are also the people least likely to use Facebook?

    • aantoine87

      you sir are spot on

    • Chris

      Absolutely correct.

  • 325

    facebook go home

  • spazby

    no thanks, just more stuff running on top of OS

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

      Every single app is something running on top of the OS — including those from Google.

      • scubabum

        But nobody wants their phone’s home screen cluttered with “Like” and “Share”.
        No thanks.

  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

    I can’t believe we are so negative about Facebook’s effort. Look, I will not use it personally. But I have to say that what Facebook just did is exactly the model that we hope “customizations” from third parties work like on Android. The Android OS is very open. Almost every default app can be replaced. Still, OEM chose to “skin” their phones instead of supplying a default replacement. There are things that apps cannot do (like applying a different theme to the OS), but “skinning” also complicates the ecosystem (ever try troubleshooting your friend’s Android phones that aren’t running stock?)

    You may not like the Facebook Home, but you should like how Facebook’s approach to solve the “customization’ problem. In that, it trusts the user to (and has the confidence that they will) make the right choice.

    • masterpfa

      I appreciate that they have made an effort, I personally would also liked to have seen further improvements on the existing app.

      I am one who will not be using FB Home, others might, but I would have preferred, in addition to ‘Home’ a better user experience for the current Android App as another option, even a redesign.

      • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

        I think they are going to expand the list of supported devices — given the size of their user base, it makes sense for them to start with a limited release.

        I agree with you, though — I wouldn’t use it myself either. If they came up with this 2 years ago when Facebook was still the biggest thing on the internet, it will be a whole different ball game. Now? Facebook is associated with the word “uncool”, and I am not sure Facebook Home can make a difference.

        That being said, I am really disappointed at some of my fellow Android fans comments. They just dismiss the whole effort altogether w/o the meaning of today’s announcement:

        1) Android can be highly customized w/o skinning, forking — there’s way to provide a very customized experience to Android devices w/o the blessing of Google, and device makers.

        2) Things like Facebook Home can never been done in iOS

        3) After so many years, finally, a big internet company is willing to invest a lot of money and man power into a project that is essentially Android first, and Android only (whether it will be ported to the Windows Phone OS remains to be seen.)

        Yet, most of the comments are just negative, when people haven’t even gotten a chance to try it out — they dismissed it for no reason other than the fact that it comes from Facebook.

  • halo0

    What a joke. No thanks! How much do you want to bet there will be pop up ads?

  • olen

    who needs facebook?

  • Nate B.

    This is just silly. I like the simple look of it. But it’s just silly to me. Now the way their messaging chat thing works with the circles looks pretty good. Google could learn a thing or two with a unified messaging app like that.

  • Anjie Cai

    does this include an updated facebook app or is it just the new launcher theme thingy?

  • duffguy123

    I see now, they purposely made the Facebook App for Android so bad so that people would go out & buy the phone specifically for facebook….

    If somebody needs a launcher specifically for Facebook…it’s just kind of sad, no?

    • duffguy123

      Actually, I can see this targeting the teenager market…Parents are shopping for a phone for their kids & the kid chooses the Facebook one…

  • mm14

    Awesome! Blurry pics and awkward profile shots as my wallpaper!

  • Nathan D.

    So they went all the trouble to make a phone but they can’t make a decent app client yet? Hopefully, these new apps will improve and make Facebook easier and way more fluid.

  • jamal adam

    Dear Facebook,
    Thank you but no thank you. Go fix your app and then we can start talking again. However, even then, I’ll stick to my Nova launcher because I seriously do not want to have you in my face every minute of everyday. I need my damn space yo and I love my CyanogenMod too. Peace.

    p.s. I prefer my Google services

    I like my home as it is

  • eClipse

    I cannot put into words my level of “who cares”?

    How is FB’s 15 minutes not up, and why is an alternate launcher news?
    Talk about wrecking a perfectly good phone.

    The app isn’t enough? People need to see photos of their “friends” doing >NOTHIING< and
    feeding marketing machines on their lock screen now?

  • donger

    Really? Just focus on your app. This is a waste, this is for people that won’t get off facebook.

  • Matthew

    I like it, I just hope its going to be able to installed on custom ROMS. I think this will make Google go even further with Android 5.0, or what-ever the next version of Android is :)

  • rob

    Nobody wants this built into your phone it is garbage