Facebook Home: Making phones more social

Facebook today debuted Facebook Home, a new app launcher for Android phones.

Cover Feed

Facebook today debuted Facebook Home, its new presence on Android devices. The new launcher, replaces your regular home screen with a Facebook Cover Feed. When you check your phone, instead of seeing the time and a few notifications, you will have access to Facebook right from your home screen. The launcher will be available for download on some Android phones on April 12 from Google Play. 

Notifications

Notifications will show up on your Cover Feed.  You have the option of tapping on the notification to find out more or discarding the notification by swiping it away. To get rid of all notifications at once, hold your finger on top of them until they collapse into a pile and swipe them all away together.  You can also scroll through your notifications, read comments and easily respond inline.

App launcher

Your face at the bottom of the screen also works as an app launcher. Just tap on your icon and you have the option of going to the app menu, to a messaging app or to Facebook.  You can customize the apps you reach through the app launcher, which can be any that you already have on your phone. 

Chat Heads

The Chat Head app is a new feature of Home. When you receive a message from a friend, a chat head pops up in the upper right corner of whatever app you are using. The number next to the image will tell you how many messages you have from that friend. If you choose to ignore the message, you can either swipe it away or leave it in the corner of your screen; it won’t go anywhere unless you want it to.

Multiple Messages

If you have multiple messages, they will all gather at the top of your screen. You can easily navigate between them by tapping on whichever message you want. These are not only Facebook messages; text messages will also show up there. If you want to get rid of all your conversations, press down to collapse them into a single pile and then swipe them away. Responding to a chat head does not pull you out of the app you are using; it remains running in the background so when you close a chat head you are back in the app you were using. 

Supported devices

Facebook Home will be supported by multiple Android devices, including the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and the Samsung GALAXY Note II. The upcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4 will also support Home.

Facebook Home on tablets

Though Facebook Home is not ready for tablets, it should be available in the next few months. Facebook said Home will work great on tablets because of the larger image size the devices allow.

HTC First

Facebook has teamed up with HTC to have the HTC First smartphone come with Facebook Home pre-installed. The new HTC phones, which are available exclusively through AT&T, will be available April 12, but can be pre-ordered now for $99.99.

Facebook Home

Here is Facebook’s video showcasing Home.