After speculation about Facebook coming out with its own phone, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder announced the release of a new Facebook launcher app. The launcher was created exclusively for Android smartphones and is called "Home". Just like the name implies, the launcher app works with the user's home screen, almost turning it into a whole new device or a "Facebook phone".
Home lets users flip through stories and even tap content to "like it" with a feature called "Cover Feed". Similar to Flipboard, the newsfeed offers users the latest news from the user's inner circle as soon as the phone turns on. Status updates will be viewable on top of images from family and friends.
Another feature found in Home, called "Chat Heads" personalizes the messaging service experience for users. Instead of working as an isolated app, Facebook wants users to be able to be able to chat with friends no matter what area of the phone they're in, without having to switch over. The way it works is that the user will receive a "Chat Head" pop up notification right over the content their viewing. The sender's photo and a preview of the message shows on the screen, letting users seamlessly continue conversation at any given time.
Traditionally launcher apps give a smartphone a new look and feel and can feel like a whole new device. The rumors about Facebook releasing a phone may not be totally false, since the launcher app converts an Android phone into a Facebook phone.
"Today we're finally gonna talk about that Facebook phone," Mark Zuckerberg said during the announcement of Home Thursday.
Facebook's Home launcher will be available for download in the Google Play store on April 12 and will work on select HTC One and Samsung Galaxy series smartphones. This includes the HTC One X, HTX One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the upcoming HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones.