Facebook is going to show us its “new home on Android” next week. That means a new phone forked and designed and controlled by Mark Zuckerberg, right? It’s difficult to say. HTC already attempted a Facebook phone of sorts, but that didn’t exactly pan out to perfection. Facebook, meanwhile, has the tools and handful of apps to create a bigger Facebook phone experience. And a new report from the Wall Street Journal claims we’ll see exactly that is at next week’s announcement.
Similar to what manufacturers do when skinning Android, the social network is ready to introduce “new software” for Google platform that sounds a bit like Sense or TouchWiz. According to people familiar with next week’s event, Zuckerberg’s company has created a new experience “that displays content from users’ Facebook accounts on a smartphone’s home screen—the first screen visible when they turn on the device.” HTC is apparently already a partner—perhaps we’ll finally see that mysterious Myst—and Facebook is talking to other OEMs, too.
The new software is designed to break the process of unlocking your phone, finding your Facebook app and then opening said app. This will put a user’s feed right on their screen at all times, nice and big, in the hopes folks spend more time combing through their News Feed. And, in turn, that will mean a potential boost in revenue from advertising. Facebook right now has over 650 million mobile users, and the new software will put Facebook first.
As desktop usage declines across the board, the social network has refocused a lot of effort on the mobile space. Because Android is such a malleable OS, only a few tweaks are required to get the new software up and running. Having the News Feed right on your home screen at all times, not just a widget, will supplant the same (or very similar) experience off a dedicated app and put it right there at your fingertips, always. Whether people want that much Facebook remains to be seen. We’ll see exactly what Facebook has cooking next Thursday, April 4.