Facebook has announced its new home screen replacement app called Facebook Home. It replaces the standard Android homescreen with an immersive Facebook experience with full-screen cover feeds, status updates, and notifications. Shutting down phone rumors and confirming past rumors, Facebook will be shipping a special version of Home that is baked into the new HTC First phone on AT&T in the US.
Facebook Home first launches on April 12th in the US, with the international rollout coming later. The app will be available for Android users running Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich through the Google Play Store.Tough luck for those running Gingerbread. It will also won’t require a modified version of Android, like what the HTC First runs.
Home is meant to be a whole new experience for your Android device, “it’s software that turns your Android phone into a great, living, social phone.” according to Facebook. Facebook is also working on bringing the Home interface to tablets in the coming months, while updating Home monthly to add new features and making it accessible to new devices. You should be able to download Home if you’ve got the most recent Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps on your phone. When launched for the first time, you can either try it once or choose “always” to replace your home screen.
The app is focused on the “Cover feed” which replaces the lock screen and home screen with full-screen updates from your Facebook feed. A way to easily keep up to date with what your friends may be doing. It also features a new notification system that pop up which you can easily check and swipe through.
A notable feature of Facebook Home is the Chat Heads that appear when a friend messages you while you’re using other apps. Out pops your friend’s face and you can tap on it to reply. This way you can easily reply to your friend and instantly get back to what you were doing — be it browsing the Internet, listening to music, or checking your email. SMS is included into Facebook Messenger for Android so the chat heads will include texts.
Facebook has created the Facebook Home Program to allow handset makers to partner up with the company to optimize the experience. Current partners include AT&T, HTC, Orange, Samsung, EE, Qualcomm, Huawei, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo, and Alcatel.