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In The News – 4-5-2013

Facebook’s new home on Android.

The long-rumored Facebook phone is finally here, sort of…

At an event at the company’s headquarters on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced “Home” – which he emphasized is not a phone or an new operating system – but a group of Android apps that make your phone “focus on people, not apps.”

What Home does is make your Facebook friends the focus of your phone – no need to open a Facebook app to see your friend’s updates. You’ll get a constant stream of their photos on your phone’s lockscreen and Facebook, Instagram and messaging will now be front and center on your phone.

 A new messaging system called “Chat Heads”  will allow you to message friends no matter what app you’re using. A little bubble with their picture will pop in the corner of your Words With Friends game or the news article you’re reading. You can then choose to chat or dismiss them from the screen.

Home will be available in the Google Play Store starting April 12. It is not yet available for tablets, but Facebook says that’s coming in a few months.

While Zuckerberg made a point of saying this isn’t a Facebook phone, he did introduce the CEO of HTC, Peter Chou, to the crowd. Chou showed off the new HTC First phone, which is “Facebook Home Optimized.” The HTC First will also arrive April 12 and is exclusive to AT&T. The First will be preloaded with he Facebook Home software and cost $99.

Chou said it was a great opportunity to bring mobile and social together. 

~ Cynthia