I assume you have all caught the Facebook news from yesterday. If not go here. Suggesting that apps were a legacy from the PC age Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new wrapper for Android homes called Home that is embedded in a six handsets – three each from HTC and Samsung – and will be available to download via the Google Play Store.
The ‘wrapper’s customise the home screen of an Android phone enabling notifications, images and messages to appear on the main screen of the phone.
Its nearest cousin is the way in which Amazon has wrapped its content around the Kindle Fire Android powered tablets.
It is an interesting move but is it enough to make you want to run your phone via Facebook?
Well it is a shift in emphasis that Facebook needed to make. It has to get more people using Facebook on their mobiles so it can present mobile advertising to them.
Zuckerberg said.”The home screen is the soul of your phone. It sets the tone. We feel it should be deeply personal.” And: “It’s putting people first in your phone.”
So in order for consumers to let Facebook lodge on their home phone the company needs to deliver a pretty compelling set of features.
Well slowly but surely over the past year or so that is exactly what Facebook has been doing.
Want to make a call? Well Facebook recently introduced its free Messenger calling service in the UK. So if you and your Facebook buddy both have the service live and a Wi-Fi connection you can chat without paying.
Want to listen to music? Well don’t bother firing up your Spotify app you can listen to your tracks on Spotify via Facebook. Image – well they have Instagram. Want to read the news – well several sites have Facebook apps.
You get the picture. It has always been the stated aim of the company for Facebook to be the internet for people and with Facebook Home on the mobile it could mean that people spend more of their time using the company’s services.
What I think Facebook are hoping for is that Home goes viral. In that users download it and show it off to their friends outlining all the benefits, who then go and download it. It is fair to say that with Android they have good chance too for even though the OS is highly customisable a lot of phone owners barely tweak their home screen at all.
The next question for Facebook then is getting the Home feature to work on iPhone or Windows handsets. It is not a move that you can’t see Apple freely and readily making, but if Home becomes massively popular on Android it may have no choice.
It looks like Facebook has an interesting year ahead.