Facebook launches all-in-one app
The long-rumored “Facebook phone” is closer to becoming a reality, after the social network on Thursday unveiled Facebook Home, a custom homescreen for Android smartphones.
Facebook (FB) Home integrates all of the social network’s services into the operating system of Android phones. Instead of having to download and call upon apps to get to services such as Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Camera, access to those features is simply baked into Facebook Home.
After a user downloads Facebook Home to an Android phone, all of Facebook’s services can be
easily reached from virtually anywhere on the device.
One key example can be found in messaging. The Facebook Home user interface pops up messages on top of any app without taking you out of that app. That’s something that isn’t really possible on any current smartphone.
To make the messaging feature even more essential, it will also work with any text messages users receive. So whether a Facebook friend contacts you via Facebook Mail, Messenger or text, you’ll get all those messages lumped together in a single conversation. That’s one of the more radical tweaks in mobile messaging to come from a major company in years.
Facebook Home also emphasizes visual elements of the social network. The crux of the interface is a feature called Cover Feed, which allows you to move through links, photos, and status updates. Little flourishes, such as double tapping any item that floats by to “like” it, shows how Facebook is neatly integrating its features into Android.
Notifications — the kind that cause the red flags to pop up on Facebook.com — sit on top of Cover Feed. That feature allows you to access the “important” stuff, as Facebook puts it. At the bottom of the screen is a single button that, when pressed, provides quick access to the apps menu, Facebook Messenger, and your last-used app.
In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied working on any sort of a Facebook phone. In a press conference Thursday, Zuckerberg reiterated that strategy, saying even a “great phone” could likely only sell up to 20 million units, reaching just 2% of the company’s 1 billion active users. CNN