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The Facebook Home: An Android Phone Platform Designed ‘Around People, Not Around Apps’

Sections: Communications, Mobile, Smartphones

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Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 3.25.44 PMSo here it is, ladies and gentlemen. It’s been months — no, years in the making. Outlasting countless rumors, denying speculations and having been doubted probably as much as it had been hoped for, Mark Zuckerberg revealed the upcoming Facebook Home Thursday morning.

While he denied the likelihood of a ‘Facebook phone’ in the past, he was kinda, sorta only half lying. Facebook Home is instead, somewhat of an all-encompassing Facebook software ‘take-over’ for your Android phone; something like a ‘skin’ for your Android that turns everything into Facebook functionality.

Spotlighting the social medium’s online content and then some, the Facebook Home-powered smartphone presents a pleasantly welcoming mobile experience with a family of new native apps atop of the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating system.

Bringing everything you know and love about Zuckerberg’s service to the forefront, Facebook Home hopes to encapsulate what the social media site has set forth from the beginning — setting a platform where the people around you are whats most important and most accessible. He even opened his presentation stating that Home was designed around people and not around apps, unlike other popular smartphones.

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At first glance, the phone’s user experience is boldly visual with colorful images popping right out at your eyes. The Home’s home and lock screens are overtaken by it’s Coverfeed app, a live stream of updates and Facebook contributions from your friends. Even with the web browser off, you can view these events and leave comments on them. For those who find this a bit stifling, I’d agree — but, the layout is quite pretty.

Little circles with images of your friends line up across the top of the Messenger app. These Talk Heads represent the people who you are currently talking to or who you have recently interacted with. This app handles both SMS texting and Facebook commenting, presenting them as one action.

The app launcher on the Facebook-versioned Android phone pops up with all of your favorite apps on one screen and the rest of your app drawer on another screen. Aligned with this idea is the ubiquitous integration of Facebook’s services spanning out across the platform.

fbhome3All applications provide a social media connection and a chance to connect them to your social buddies — which can be done very quickly and easily. Notifications and badges are Facebook-tinged now too; organizing them by person and not by application.

For example, a notification will say now ‘Matt has checked into Tower Records,’ rather than seeing a standard message from FourSquare. Boom, that saves you a click for every news story that comes up. Not only that, but this will make things more personal and complete, keeping your social world up to date, one peek at a time.

You’re with your phone nearly all day, everyday. With that, Zuckerberg’s team focused so much on the home screen to create a content-rich and eye-pleasing experience every time you look at it.

The Facebook Home will be seen ‘first’ April 12 on the upcoming HTC First on AT&T, where it’ll be preloaded and ready to go out of the box. The mid-ranger will come in black, white, red and blue, with a 4.3-inch display and a Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor.

But don’t worry about getting that unless you’re in the market for a new phone — the service will be available for free, allegedly on the HTC One and One X, the Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II beginning April 12.

Overall, this is great news for Facebook and we’re expecting many people to jump on board. My issue is one thing — Facebook to me has been something of a time-wasting resource that I use as sparingly as I can (to avoid falling into a ‘Facebook hole’ as my friends and I call it.) Granted I’m from a pre-internet generation, somewhat detached from social media in comparison to kids in high school these days — is that who this software is for?

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