Facebook unveiled its anticipated Home extension for Android, which the social networking giant described as a “new way to turn your Android phone into a great, living social phone”.
And, as expected, HTC is set to offer a device with Home integrated, although it will also be available for download for some existing HTC and Samsung smartphones.
Central to Home is a new cover feed, which replaces the existing lock screen and home screen on smartphones. It is described as “a window into what’s happening with your friends”, delivering content “for those in-between moments like waiting in line at the grocery store or between classes when you want to see what’s going on in your world”.
Also included in the proposition are “chat heads”, which deliver messages from friends to users over the top of other apps in use – “whether you’re checking email, browsing the web, or listening to music”. In addition to Facebook messages, the “chat heads” also support SMS.
And activity notifications will also be used to alert consumers to new content.
In addition to supporting HTC’s One X devices and Samsung’s Galaxy SIII and Note II (with HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 versions planned), Facebook Home will be the central feature in HTC’s new First smartphone, which is set to reach the market next week.
AT&T was the first operator named as supporting the device by Facebook, although UK player EE (including its Orange brand) has also said it will be available. AT&T will charge $99.99 with a two-year contract for the mid-tier device.