Facebook wants to rule the phone with HomeMore than just an app, Facebook's latest product is a new skin for Android devices. Bridget Carey explains how Facebook Home changes the interface of a phone.
Facebook found a way to give you more Facebook. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. Facebook wants to be more than just one of the apps on your phone. It wants to be the homescreen scan of your device. The Facebook phone that everyone was been talking about is actually a skin for Android called Facebook Home. When the phone is turned on, instead of a home screen of apps, you'll see the most recent photos posted from your friends. It's called the cover feed. And you can interact with those photos with likes and comments, all by tapping and swiping. You no longer have to open a Facebook app to start interacting on Facebook. If you get a message from someone, their Facebook head pops up a bubble called the Chat Head. If you get a notification about someone, their picture also appears. With Facebook home, the phone centers around your Facebook feed and connections. The software can be downloaded from the Google Playstore on April 12th but only a few of the latest Android phones will be able to try it. That's the HTC One, which isn't out yet, the HTC One X and X+, the Galaxy S3 and S4 and the Galaxy Note 2. There's even a new phone coming out that has Facebook home pre-installed, it's called the HTC First and pre-orders begin now if you wanna be among the first with the First. It's $100 with a contract on AT&T and it comes in 4 colors. If you're considering downloading Facebook home, here's a look of what to expect. First, the cover feed, which is just a feed, recent status messages and posts from your friends. In the demos, we see pictures of cool people doing cool things, but think about the photos posted on your feed. Motivational pictures with lots of tiny texts on it, maybe some blurry pet photos, pretty much any picture can turn into your wallpaper for the moment. And you'll also see advertisements, yeah, not at first but advertisements will be coming eventually because that's what we want on our phones. As for navigation, there is a circle with your head in it. Tap it and it gives you three options. Send a message, open the menu of apps for your phone or open the most recently used app. You'll also see little head circles pop up when your friends send a text message or Facebook message. Facebook calls them Chat Heads and Chat Heads can be moved around the screen. They just hover over whatever you're doing, staring at you, waiting for a reply. Or you can throw the icon away if you don't wanna answer. This seems like a program you want that Facebook is your only social network that you obsess over and for many people that is the case. A recent study says smartphone users are on Facebook three times longer than on other apps. When it comes out April 12th, those with a compatible phone can also just try it once before committing to a complete switch over and it'll come to tablets over the next several months. That's your tech news update. You can find more details on Facebook home and our show blob cnet.com/update. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.