After months of rumor, Facebook's smartphone is likely the one you already own, as Home opens up a new way to put social front and center on selected mobile devices.
Facebook Takes Over Android
First the bad news, this Home "super app" is only coming to selected devices, including the HTC One X, One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and GALAXY Note II, plus some upcoming models from those makers. It will be available as a free download to existing owners, while buyers will find special models in stores with it all ready to go. But what is it?
Facebook Home takes over the front end of your Android, replacing the home screen with a Cover Feed, bringing what's happening in your social world right up to the top of your phone, without burying it in an app, or waves of notifications.
And, now, those notifications can be instantly acted upon, allowing you to react to news, continue a conversation over time and have other interactions without leaving the app, while being able to run your other apps and tools. Makes Twitter's recent update look rather limp.
Make Time to Chat
Chat is also brought to the front of your phone, allowing multiple conversations to roll on, regardless of what app you happen to be using. These can be by SMS or Message as that's integrated into Facebook Messenger for Android.
There will be a dedicated Facebook phone, the HTC First, but since Home can run on the most popular models, it could spread a lot wider than any dedicated hardware would allow. The company said they designed Home to be the next version of Facebook but also help rethink how devices are used.
With Apple's iOS locked down tight, this is something that's unlikely to ever appear on an iPhone, which puts further pressure on Apple to make its front end more accessible, or do something different beyond the lock screen. The ball is certainly in their court as Android becomes less about Google's OS and more about what phone and app makers can do with it.