There was a large, expectant crowd of people representing the press, self-styled analysts and camera toting eager new-hunters present at the headquarters of Facebook, at Menlo Park, California. The steady drizzle of rain did not deter them as they had gathered to garner news about the much hyped Facebook Mobile Phone. Is this going to be another piece of cleverly designed software that will give Facebook the center stage on devices driven by Android? People were eager to know what Facebook had up its sleeve this time.
The local radio stations were busy giving a running commentary, with short breaks in between to announce the impending visit of President Obama to the locality (Bay Area). None other than the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg went onstage, as the announcement was considered important enough to justify the presence of the most important man at Facebook HQ.
This is what Zuckerberg had to say, “going forward, starting April 12 to be precise, Facebook Home Software can be accessed on any Android phone”. He continued in the same vein and went on to explain that Facebook Home had some important capabilities that focused on giving importance to people rather than apps. The implication was that Facebook’s phones were designed around people, rather than around apps. The addition of Newsfeed to the most popular social media website was meant to satiate the needs of the people who had an alarmingly large appetite for quality content. He expected the people to gobble up twice the quantity of content that they were lapping up till then.
The experience is to be right onto your phones, and allow access to as many people as possible. We already know that Facebook has the largest user base that hit 1 billion in the recent past. The highlights are in the form of three key components, Notifications (as usual), Chat Heads, and Cover Feed.\
Cover Feed will have the primary task of changing the face of the Android device by replacing the home screen, though not completely. According to Adam Mosseri, director of product at Facebook, you will see the Facebook Open Graph stories along with prominent images fleeting across the screen, instead of the traditional clock. Status updates will be as usual, as well as News Shares. You simply need to press and hold to see the complete picture, or swipe to go over to the next picture on the screen. Comments can be added right on the home screen itself, which should be welcomed by most avid users of Facebook.
Chat Heads will appear with images of close friends with the latest comments they have posted. Facebook Home will help you keep up with whatever your friends are up to, and you can join into the current forum by simply tapping on the Head. The Chat Heads will be popping up all over, and you know what is happening, irrespective of what you are doing on the phone.
Notifications are meant to keep you well informed, with complete details of the person messaging you, photo, name etc. Though notifications of emails are not supported, you can still use the Android notification bar. The new app launcher helps you retain the old flavor of using a traditional phone the way you always have. You can get to the app launcher with a single swipe, because that is how easy it is.
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