Facebook has just announced Facebook Home, a new home screen experience that it’s launching first on Android devices. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg just previewed Home at an event that we’re also live blogging as it continues.
Facebook Home essentially turns the Android home screen and lock screen into a Facebook content-based experience with what it calls “Cover feed.” Content loads while the phone is sleeping, Zuckerberg says, and the user can then easily flip/swipe through it when waking up the phone.
Facebook Home supports notifications that pop-up on the screen and can be removed with a swipe.
It also includes an app launcher that’s accessed by clicking on your own user avatar — Facebook is calling these “chat heads” now — at the bottom of the screen.
Facebook Home also supports messaging — both Facebook messages and standard SMS. When you have an incoming message, a friend’s “chat head” shows on the screen. Clicking it begins (or continues the conversation).
The event is still going on now with other Facebook staffers going into more detail on these features. See Danny Sullivan’s live blog coverage for more information.
Android users that have the most recent Facebook app and Facebook messenger app will be able to get Facebook Home via the Google Play store beginning on April 12. But it’s only available on phones now; Facebook says it won’t be ready for “several months” on Android tablets. At the beginning, Home will work on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. It’ll also work on the forthcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4, as well as many more devices in the future.
Update: HTC and AT&T also spoke briefly during the event to announce the new HTC First phone, the first Facebook Home-optimized phone. It’ll be released on April 12 and can be pre-ordered now.
Here are some screenshots from Facebook’s presentation.
Postscript: Facebook has now formally announced this with a post in its “Newsroom.” I’ve added some information and corrected some spelling based on the information Facebook posted.