Facebook Launches Smartphone Foray
Social network site Facebook has unveiled a push into the smartphone market from its headquarters in California.
On Thursday evening, speaking from Menlo Park, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a new application called Facebook Home. It replaces the standard Android's homescreen with a full-blown Facebook experience featuring photos, status updates, and notifications.
Facebook also said a special version of Home will come pre-installed on the new HTC First phone on AT&T.
Home will launch on April 12th in the US, and will be available to users of Android Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich, but not Gingerbread. The international rollout will come later.
It won't require a forked or modified version of Android.
Facebook will try to make Home available on tablets within a few months. Every month, Facebook will release a Home update to add new features and make it accessible to new devices.
Messaging is put at the forefront. When a friend sends a message, Home brings up the Facebook Chat Heads feature. It pops up a person's face, on which users can tap and bring up a conversation without losing anything from other running applications.
HTC and AT&T will release one of the first phones with Facebook Home on it. The handset is called the HTC First. The device's operating system will be "optimized" to give users unique experiences like notifications for email and calendars on Facebook Home.
It will be available on April 12th for USD 99.99, but it can already be preordered from HTC First.
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