Attempting to revolutionize the relationship we have with our phones, today Facebook introduced the world to Home. Neither a phone nor an operating system, it is a layer of experience built on the Android platform which will bring people to the forefront and push apps to the background.
Mark Zuckerberg stated, “Our lives are now open and connected, we spend our lives sharing and connecting. What if we made it so phones are designed around people first, then apps…Home is a new category of experiences. You look at your phone 100 times a day, the experience should be deeply personal.”
Taking a look at some of the new features that Home brings to the experience, Facebook’s Director of Product, Adam Mosseri introduced us to Cover Feed. A visually rich opening screen for the phone, users can interact with content right from the home screen and see the most important information first.
Next up, Product Designer, Joey Flynn showed the audience how Home handles messaging on the phone. With a core mission of being able to talk to friends no matter what app you’re in, Joey introduced Chatheads, which integrates Facebook messenger and SMS messages in a seamless presentation, taking messaging away from individual apps and into a layer of experience on top of whatever you are working on. Chatheads stays in the corner and messages persist even when moving between different apps and content. Users can pop into conversations while the other content stays right beneath. Chatheads allows user to carry on multiple conversations, easily tapping back and forth.
These new functions look to overhaul the mobile phone experience, bringing not just a new mobile version of Facebook, but an entirely new approach to how people use their phones. By adapting to a people first philosophy, Home is intended to make the mobile phone experience more intuitive, bring people closer to what they want, and moving away from the app-centric design that we’ve gotten used to.
Director of mobile engineering, Corey Ondrejka then took the stage to let us all know when Home will be available. Starting April 12, Android users will be able to download Home from the Google Play store. It will also be available for tablets, though not for several months.
The HTC First, billed as the ‘ultimate social phone’ by HTC CEO Peter Chou, is the first phone with Home pre-loaded and will also be available starting April 12, exclusively through AT&T, for $99.99. It can be pre-ordered starting today.
Mark wrapped things up on a philosophical bent, stating how excited he is, not simply about this ‘new mobile version of Facebook,’ rather how this changes our relationship with computing devices; a relationship that hasn’t really changed over the last 30 years. Instead of allowing the apps and devices to be the central point of focus, Facebook Home puts what is most important to people, first.