Why Facebook Home isn't such a bad idea.
- Facebook Home is a replacement of your Android phone's interface
- Compatible across a range of devices offer direct Facebook intergration
- Good idea, solid design but will it actually work?
"Facebook Home" is pretty ambitious. Coming from a company that has tried time after time to usher the next iteration of their product with little success, its surprising to see an idea that’s not only smart but also realistic enough to actually work.
For those that missed yesterdays joint event from HTC and Facebook, there was an air of energy and excitement about their new product. The countdown to the press event was riddled with speculation that the collaboration between the two would result in a Facebook branded phone. An entry into the smartphone market with a Facebook styled OS would’ve been an obvious failure when pitted against the likes Apple, Google, Nokia and Blackberry and gave rise to concern Facebook were unknowingly lining themselves up for a failure. While not a far departure from what Facebook have been pushing hardware wise the past few years, the idea of a branded phone would’ve still been an uninspired, naive idea.
As the days ticked down to the actual announcement though, the perspective became a whole lot clearer. Facebook weren’t releasing a phone. They were looking to change the one already in your pocket.
Cue “Facebook Home”. Simply put, it’s a replacement launcher for your Android phone. It replaces your stock home screen, lock screen and icon drawer with Facebook’s version of how your phone should work. And it’s pretty neat too. The catch phrase thrown around a lot yesterday was “it’s a phone for people, not for apps” and the design clearly reflects this.
Home’s lock screen and home screen are an discrete blend of smartphone and Facebook features. Your display picture becomes the icon you slide to unlock. The lock screen itself is populated by items from your feed and gives you an overview of what your friends are doing without the need to launch an app. This is the crux of what Facebook Home wants to achieve. Complete integration of their social network into the device you use everyday. It’s a smart way of breathing life back in the pretty stale brand that Facebook has become in the past few years.
Dynamic integration of Facebook into every Android phone is a big setup for the social network
Once you get past the promises and core ideas of Home, it comes down to whether or not people are actually going to use it. It’s largely targeted towards users of Facebook’s service and while that’s not all of us, the majority of the public primarily use their smartphones for social networking. The adoption of a format that can be applied to every Android phone out there means that current Facebook users can adopt the service quickly and for free. I expect this will be the reason that Home could see a massive success amongst the public. Couple this with a great design and a heap of advertising on Facebook and the possibility of it’s popularity becomes even more realistic.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook handle the rollout of Home. In terms of hardware, the collaboration with HTC will see a new phone (HTC First) being released with official support for Home. More importantly though, Facebook need to see a strong migration of Android users of Facebook if they want to really give their service a refresh. The idea’s certainly strong and the design and easiness of installation will more than drive a large portion of their user base to switch over.
The US will receive Home first on April 12th with an international rollout set for a later date.
Looking for an unlimited 3G data plan for your tablet with no restrictions? Optus are offering $3 Data Days with exactly that. Call them on 1300 137 897