Facebook Looking To Dominate On Android Phones With Their “Home”

Facebook HomeFacebook is looking to take centerstage in the mobile computing market not with their own phone, but a heavily tweaked Android operating system that was unveiled by the company on Thursday.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled what they called “Facebook Home” or a collection of applications that focus around the social networking website, describing it as a system that focus more on people instead of apps.

During the official announcement in Menlo Park, Zuckerberg said: “Why do we need to go into those apps in the first place to see what’s going on with those we care about? We want to bring all this content to the front.”

The main feature of Facebook Home is the “Cover Feed” that will show stories from your Facebook friends on the home screen instead of the traditional lock screen of Android-powered devices.

Another feature that was highlighted is the “Chat Heads” that will allow users to keep chatting with their Facebook friends, while running other applications such as games and web browser. When a friend sends a message either through Facebook or SMS, a chat head bearing your friend’s face will appear to inform the user who the sender is. Of course, Facebook notifications will also be delivered automatically on the user’s smartphone.

Zuckerberg also explained why Facebook opted to use the Android system instead of Apple’s iOS, citing the openness of the Android OS as the main reason why they used the system developed by Google. Had they decided to use the iOS, Zuckerberg said that they would have needed to engage in long talks with Apple.

In a statement, Zuckerberg said: “Android is growing quickly, and we’re excited that the platform is open and that it allows us to build these great experiences. I think that this is really good for Google too. Something like this could encourage a lot of people to get Android phones, because I think people really care about Facebook. In a lot of ways, this is one of the best Facebook experiences that you can get.”

Facebook Home will be available for free download in the Google Play Store starting April 12, which will also be the release date of the HTC First – the first phone with pre-installed Facebook Home. Facebook Home will work well on Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S IV and HTC One.