Facebook (FB) Phones Home
Last week, Facebook (FB) announced "Home" for Android, a hub application that ties together Facebook features and mobile apps on a single platform. Prior to the announcement, finance writers and analysts had been speculating that Facebook might release a phone to compete with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone or other Google (GOOG) Android devices.
During the announcement, Zuckerberg stated that it was never his intention to create a hardware solution, which could reach 10 million to 20 million users. He stated that by piggybacking off Google hardware, Facebook Home could reach 64 million U.S. users in this year alone, with minimal risk to the company. "Just building a phone isn't enough for Facebook," Zuckerberg told the audience at the release. Daily Chart
Home for Android will be available for download on April 12 in the United States, and is aimed at becoming a replacement UI (user interface) for smartphone users. When Home users' smartphones are unlocked, they will see Facebook's "Cover Feed" instead of their usual desktop' of apps. Roughly 80% of Facebook's current News Feed items will be prominently featured on the Cover Feed. Status updates and new photos will pop up on the phone's Home screen. Tapping messages twice allows users to "Like" statuses and photos, while comments can be directly posted from the Home screen. Swiping around the Cover Feed area could reveal newly posted photos from friends. Messages from friends will instantly pop up along with their photo as a notification. Another swipe would allow Home users to swap back to their regular Android apps. Facebook Home will initially be available on select Android devices, such as HTC's One X series and Samsung's Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2. The HTC First, which is preloaded with Home as a default OS, will start selling on April 12 via AT&T (T
). AT&T is selling the First for $99.99 with a two-year data plan. Additional features such as video, camera and direct phone calls won't be available on the initial version of Home, but will be added in future upgrades. Zuckerberg claims that the software will be updated at least once a month. Home will not be compatible with Google's Nexus phone, considering the current rivalry between Facebook and Google. Interestingly enough, Facebook is modifying open-sourced Android to create its new service, just as Amazon (AMZN
) created a forked version of Android for its Kindle tablets. It's unknown how well all of this will sit with Google, as Home can be considered a major intrusion into Google's mobile ecosystem. Although Google was unable to block Amazon from modifying Android, it responded with its own competitor, the Google Nexus tablet series, last year. Analysts believe that Home will be a positive growth catalyst for Facebook, and give it a larger area to add advertisements. This could help boost its top line growth, and push shares back towards its IPO price of $38. Other News About FB Facebook Tweaks Android Phones to Build New 'Home'
Facebook rolls out Home, its customized Android start page. My First Twelve Questions About Facebook Home
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Published on Apr 9, 2013
By Leo Sun