Is it a phone, an operating system or an App?! Home is a set of apps turning your Android phone into a “great social phone” explained Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in his keynote speech on April 4th, 2013.
Home changes the status-quo of both mobile and social industries and will be available for download on April 12th, 2013.
It brings to life three key aspects of a phone : people, homescreen and messaging.
From apps to people
With home the focus shifts from apps to people. “Connected” is the word to explain this change of focus. What matters to us today is what is happening with the people around us. Often we look at our phone and we want to connect with our friends and our family. Home helps us do that in a faster and natural way creating an immersive mobile and social experience. Instead of seeing your application first on your home, you will see live feeds, -full-screen photos, status updates, and notifications- in the format of a slideshow. It is easy to interact, you can double tap to like or long press it to stop.
“The homescreen of your phone is the soul of your phone” emphasised Mark Zuckerberg. In effect to that, your homescreen should be more than what it is today, a static picture with the date, the time and maybe a couple of messages. From the time you touch your phone, Home instantly gives you cover feeds connecting you directly with the people you care about. The first promotional TV ad of Facebook Home, ”Airplane”, shows a man in an airplane about to take off. Thanks to Home he is enjoying the little time he can spend with the people he cares about.
Messaging is a key element of a phone, hence Chat Heads makes this experience seamless and enjoyable. The time where you had to choose between responding to a message or keeping on with whatever you were doing is over. In fact, a person’s face pops up into your screen with a red dot signalling the number of messages. You can tap on the person’s face and a screen will pop up enabling you to chat with your friend. Once you finish you just swipe or tap again on your friend’s face. And you are back to your last app.
Android vs. iOS
The launch of Facebook Home is in continuity with the endless fight between Android vs. iOS, or open vs. closed, or fragmented vs. integrated. Facebook chose Android, an open platform, for its new mobile experience rather than iOS. Ben Parr,a CNET commentator, and the former co-editor of Mashable, believes that the move of Facebook “signals a new era in the battle between iPhone and Android, one that gives Google the advantage”.
“Home is where the heart is”
Overall Home is in continuity with Facebook’s mission, which is to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. “Open is having access to information, and connected is being able to reach out to people. ” said Mark Zuckerberg in his keynote speech. With a phone that flips the status-quo and focuses on people rather than apps, users will be able to have a more immersive experience.
According to the idiom, “Home is where the Heart is”, and for Facebook Home it’s where the users are. Although Facebook users were spending more time on mobile then computer, Facebook and mobile have not been always best friends . Will Home switch this tendency and wins the hearts of mobile users?