After years of rumors, Facebook has announced Facebook Home for Android. They have redesigned the interface to focus less on apps themselves and more on the user experience.
Facebook has announced a new, all-inclusive app called Facebook Home for Android that transforms your Android phone into a social experience.
“People, Not Apps”
Based on their statistics, mobile users spend at least 25% of their time browsing Facebook and Instagram alone, and they’ve realized that users are looking for a more social experience. To maximize on this behaviour, they’ve decided to strip away the excessive walls and layers that usual apps work around, and have made “Home” to deeply integrate itself into Android’s GUI to provide an extremely simple way to be social on Facebook and Instagram.
Coverfeed gets rid off the traditional homescreen where your favourite apps would be listed, and lists various updates from your friends (along with their cover photos) to provide a visual update available even at the lockscreen level. Zuckerberg said that users unlock their phones over 100 times per day, and decided that users shouldn’t have to go through 3 or 4 steps to access their latest social media feed updates. With Coverfeed, you can also instantly interact with these updates either by ‘Liking’ them or posting a comment from the home or lockscreen rather than having to load up the Facebook or Instagram app.
Again, they are moving away from an app-focused design by allowing users to chat with their friends via SMS or Facebook Messenger from anywhere on your phone. Your active chats will appear as little round circles with the picture of your friends in them, allowing you to tap on them to activate a chat screen anywhere. If you’re browsing the web or reading an eBook, you can easily activate a chat window without having to close your present app to launch SMS or Facebook Messenger. Once you’re done chatting, you just push them away and continue using your other app.
Improved Notifications and Apps Launcher
You’ll still have the option to view your favourite apps on one screen, and the entire apps library in another. They’ve also made it easy to switch between apps and notifications with simple gestures, and an easier way to quickly type a new status or post photos right from your homescreen rather than via the app (something like what iOS has).
It seems that Facebook has finally accepted the immense power of the Android market given its stunning market share figures, and are also capitalizing on the fact that the OS is Open source and very easy to work with.
Facebook Home comes out on April 12th for a limited range of devices including the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II, as well as the HTC One and One X. Their intentions are to make Home available for all Android phone and tablet devices, and are slowly working to push updates for more and more users in the next coming weeks. They say Home can be downloaded via the Play Store. If you already have Facebook installed on your device (Android), you’ll also be given the option to install it.
Read more about it here.