Facebook Phone Home?

By Devon Glenn 

Facebook announced today a new application that will put Facebook activity front and center on Android devices.

Facebook Home is neither an operating system nor an actual phone, the company said, but a “family of apps” that puts the social network on the home screen instead of in an apps folder.

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckberg told reporters at today’s press event in Menlo Park that “the company wanted to build a mobile experience around friends, not apps,” according to our sibling blog AllFacebook.

Explained Rob Jewell, CEO of Facebook marketing management firm Spruce Media, “I think Facebook was nervous about how mobile was shaping up.” Currently, Facebook’s mobile users have to click on an icon to access the app.

“Facebook Platform has been widely adopted across standard websites, but this ‘social plumbing’ has yet to be spread across mobile,” Jewell added. “Facebook Home is Facebook’s biggest effort to date to extend the social experience across mobile devices.”

Facebook Home will include a “cover feed” for the home screen and the lock screen; and “chat heads,” or profile pictures, that pop up when friends send the user a message. Messages and other notifications will show up even while other apps are in use.

As our sibling blog Inside Facebook reported earlier today, Facebook created Home in partnership with mobile device manufacturer HTC. The software will come pre-installed in the HTC First, which AT&T customers can purchase for $99.99 beginning April 12.

The app will also be available for download on Google Play for mobile devices including HTC One, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy S IV, and Samsung Galaxy Note II. Versions for the HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4 are coming soon.