Facebook is set to launch a suite of apps for Android smartphones on Friday to provide greater integration between the social network and users’ mobile devices.
Facebook Home will build upon existing core and Messenger apps to by merging the platform into a phone’s home and lockscreens. A stream of photos, links, videos, and status updates which members already experience on Facebook will be imported directly to the phone every time it is turned on. Users will be able to cycle through the news feed and interact by liking and commenting as normal without having to launch another app to do so.
The downloadable new Android skin will also boast an ability to keep chat windows accessible even while other apps are running, making it easier to keep a conversation going, and provide a central hub for both Facebook Messenger and other communication programs such as text-messaging apps. When you’re ready to leave Facebook alone for a short while, an app launcher will bring up all the other applications installed on the phone for quick access.
Initially, Facebook Home will only be available on Android phones running version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher, but plans are underway to bring it to tablets as well. Those eager to bring Facebook to the forefront of their mobile experience will be able to download Home from the Google Play store on April 12th, or pick up the new HTC First on the same day.
HTC’s new budget phone won’t blow anyone away with specs—it will have a 4.3” 720p screen with 16 GB of built-in storage, 1 GB of RAM, a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor, 2000 mAh battery, and 5 MP rear camera—but it will provide an inexpensive entrance to the smartphone world for anyone looking to maximize the Facebook experience. The First will sell for just $99 on contract with AT&T and come with Home preinstalled.