Give Your Android Phone A Facebook Makeover

In February I wrote about a mobile phone from INQ called the CloudTouch that is optimized for integration with Facebook. The phone is still only for sale in the United Kingdom, but Android users worldwide can now get the CloudTouch’s Facebook widgets to add a similar level of integration to their phone.

The Social Widget Suite by INQ is a free app available in the Android Market and installing it adds five home screen widgets. The primary widget is called News Feed, which is the main widget that displays your Facebook news feed. Adding the News Feed widget requires installing an additional app on your phone called INQ Home Live, which provides the communication with Facebook to retrieve and display the news feed. You will also need to give INQ Mobile permission to access your Facebook account.

Four smaller widgets, People, Events, Notifications, and Places add buttons to your home screen that you can tap to access different parts of Facebook. The People widget is the most interesting as it requires yet another app called INQ Social Sync to display the Facebook wall of your top five friends in Facebook.

Social Sync automatically determines which five friends you interact the most with, but you can change them to any one of your Facebook friends. When you tap the People widget, you see your friend’s profile pic above their wall posts and you swipe left or right to move between each one of your friends. Tapping Menu, Contacts opens Android’s Contacts app so that you can see all of your contact information on the phone.

The Events, Notifications, and Places widgets open their corresponding sections of the Android Facebook app. The Notifications and Places widgets automatically update to display the profile pic of the person from you most recently received a notification and check in. One problem with these widgets is that if you tap the back button you return to the previous section of the Facebook app rather than the home screen.