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Facebook 'phone' comes to fruition

16
Facebook Home is not an operating system but a skin that can be installed on top of Google's Android OS.

As expected, Facebook premiered its own tailor-made Android skin, Facebook Home, on a new handset from HTC today, the HTC First, at a press event held near the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

The Facebook-centric mobile OS is a modified version of Android's mobile operating system, crafted to feature Facebook first, much as Amazon did with the Kindle Fire. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed that the new platform brings people, i.e. Facebook, to the forefront of users' smartphone experience, rather than apps. Facebook is always the focus here: users will first see "Home," a streaming feed from Facebook with status updates and images. Notifications and "chat heads" are integrated into Facebook Home, allowing you to communicate quickly with contacts without needing to open an app or leave the one you're using.

Facebook Home will available as a free download from the Google Play store ...
... and setting it as your default launcher will turn any compatible Android phone into a "Facebook phone."

The HTC First showcases Facebook's new OS on a 4.3-inch display. The handset can be pre-ordered through AT&T starting today for $99.99 and will be available April 12. The device is running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) with Facebook Home and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 400 processor with dual-core CPU.

Though camera specs were not immediately confirmed following the press event, the HTC First is expected to feature a 5-megapixel rear camera and 1.6-megapixel front camera. These specs are rather minimal compared to the 13MP camera phones that are quickly becoming the new industry standard. However, 5MP actually makes quite a bit of sense for a phone and camera designed for primarily social photography taking and sharing.

The stories from your Facebook news feed will be displayed on the home screen.
Apps will still be accessible through an app launcher.

Facebook's Home will be available for other compatible Android devices, including the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy Note II and Samsung Galaxy S3, starting April 12. Home will also be available for the soon-to-be released HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. A tablet version is under way for a future release date.

Though Facebook was long-rumored to be making a true "Facebook phone," Zuckerberg consistently denied his company was going into the hardware business. The software move instead seems more in keeping with Facebook's major efforts toward expanding its mobile outreach. After significant updates to its mobile apps for both Android and iOS in the past year, the new OS takes Facebook's mobile efforts that much further.

So-called chat heads can be placed on top of any app screen and moved around ...
 ... to give you quick access to a conversation with your contacts.

Comments

Total comments: 16
systemBuilder

I hear that captain crunch is working on a new version of android to distribute with phones included in its cereal boxes .... sheesh...

0 upvotes
Dames01

FB Claim to have so many Users.. I wonder whether they include people like me that have an account but it is deactivated since I soon came to the conclusion that FB had nothing to offer to me.

0 upvotes
Pik2004

Crappy FB UI? NO THANKS!

0 upvotes
joe6pack

Does it mean that facebook is subsidizing the phone?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

Considering the HTC First is going to be $99 at ATT it doesn't look as if anything is being subsidized. But again, this is just a piece of software, you basically have to bring your own phone :-)

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge

HTC One will be available for $199
(Apr 2, 2013 at 14:40:49 GMT)
The 'ultrapixel' smartphone will be $199 for 32GB and $299 for 64GB from AT&T.

So the HTC First is some cheap version of glue-together phone specially reserved for FB fans. Serves them right. :-)

0 upvotes
jnk

While I'm not a big fan of FB and have not even open a account - but with a user base of over one billion - it's just of time this company will get traction (making $$$) - would anyone be ready for this run?

0 upvotes
Cailean Gallimore

Lets hope it works better than the laughably inept android app that they make worse with every new iteration of it.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge

I wonder if this can be erased and replaced by normal OS...

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm

It's probably easier to just not install it in the first place :-)

4 upvotes
Tan68

The article is inconsistent. At one point, this innovation is called a skin and at another point it is called an Operating System.

I believe it is more like the HTC Sense custom interface for Android. Or is it Samsung Sense..? Samsung has custom interface, too.

I am not sure how to get rid of the HTC and Samsung interfaces. If this phone comes with the FB interface, you are probably stuck with it unless you install another version of Android without any skin/interface on the phone. This is the phone rooting and I know little about that.

If you have installed this interface on a phone that did not originally come with it and you later wish you hadn't, hopefully you could simply uninstall it ..?!

At least the FB interface still lets people use other apps. Talking heads on a Scrabble game... Wonder if an instant screen shot could be sent to them and then they could recommend I use my letters to spell 'molder'.

Facebook 'phone' or 'Facebook' phone...

0 upvotes
AZBlue

Facebook fail!

2 upvotes
Tan68

then some people might describe this as a face plant. i don't think this will be a FP in the way the stock offering was. this thing might even catch on.. i suppose it doesn't cost them much to try.

this does seem to be a bit much.. kinda grasping. i suppose it isn't much different from some kind of designer edition for other stuff. i don't think i would like to have the FBP.

0 upvotes
Ed_arizona

if you want all Facebook phone, you need a life

4 upvotes
tkbslc

Who wants this?

1 upvote
vladimir byazrov
1 upvote
Total comments: 16
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