Yesterday, the Facebook phone that we've all been waiting for arrived. Kind of. What really showed up is a new Facebook application called "Home." Home promotes Facebook news streams, and has the potential to be in-you-face annoying. But, I'm guessing that some people will love this new app. What's it all about? Here are the details.
Facebook: On All The Time!
Facebook wants to replace your current lock screen with your Facebook news feed. So, instead of seeing whatever photo you have on your lock screen, you will see Facebook updates in real time. You'll never miss an update, and you won't have to visit the Facebook app or webpage to see what's happening -- for those who are truly afraid to miss anything.
Facebook also introduced an app feature called "Chat Heads." Chat Heads is an updated version of Facebook Messenger, really. When a friend sends you a message, you will see that friend's photograph appear alongside the message. Messages will also show up above any app that you are currently using. Miss a message? I think not! In addition to the new apps, Facebook let the world know that the company is not building a phone or an operation system.
Setting the Record Straight
Facebook told press yesterday that the company is not building an OS or phone. Instead, Facebook is "building something a whole lot deeper than an ordinary app." Sure looks like ordinary apps to me, but, hey, this is the social network's first attempt, so I'll cut Zuckerberg and crew some slack.
Facebook also made it abundantly clear that the company supports Android-based devices. The first Facebook app will be available on Android phones only. The app is set to debut in the Google Play store on April 12th. Facebook's new Home app will also come pre-installed on the new HTC First. Now, some drawbacks.
Problems With the Facebook Home App
What's the first thing you notice when you look at your Facebook feed? I see a lot of posts, and plenty of advertisements. Zuckerberg told press that advertisements won't be part of Home to begin with, but he did affirm that ads will make their way to the app sooner rather than later.
Let me put this another way: your lock screen will soon consists of a number of annoying friend posts plus a whole bunch of advertisements. Congratulations, Android users, you've won the Facebook jackpot -- only this jackpot comes with more than a handful of ads. But, on the flip side, you will be able to see what your friends are doing at all times of the day and night.
iOS users: you can simply tweak your settings to display all new posts by Facebook friends that you follow -- without the annoying ads. If you really want to see what the app is all about (and I'm guessing it will become better developed over time), you can check it out in a few weeks if you have an Android phone.