The rumors of “The Facebook Phone” have been circulating for years.
Now, many of the rumors about the nature of a Facebook phone have been quelled with the announcement earlier this year of Facebook Home. The new collection of apps – available on four leading smartphones – aim to help users make Facebook a regular part of their lives.
When a user installs Facebook Home, his phone is all but taken over by the social network. From the home screen, you can see your newsfeed without even having to unlock the phone. With just a swipe of your finger, you can open Facebook Messenger and send messages.
The suite of apps is available on Android phones only, and Facebook has effectively created its own phone without having to deal with the hardware. The apps change the way the phone behaves – no matter whether you’re using it on a Samsung or an HTC. It puts the focus of your phone on your Home Feed and makes it easy to use Messenger rather than standard Gmail or text messaging.
A typical smartphone homescreen is full of app icons, but with Facebook Home this is replaced with Facebook apps, Instagram and popular apps like Google Maps and Google Search (but not competing social networks like Twitter or Google+). It doesn’t alter the way that Android looks, but it does a clean sweep of the interaction so that Facebook is part of the fabric of most smartphone operations. If users aren’t interested in tweaking their own Android settings, Facebook Home takes care of it. You can also turn off parts of Facebook Home and turn them on later.
Even though the social network is actively promoting their suite of apps, it’s optional to use. Facebook users can still access the site through the standard app if they don’t want the takeover experience that Facebook Home provides.