In this episode we open up the HTC First smartphone, the first phone to ship with Facebook Home as the default launcher. Facebook Home turns your phone into a device that is hyper connected to Facebook, including lock screen slideshows of recent updates from your friends, and direct access to Facebook and Facebook Messenger from the lock screen as well. The HTC First reminds us of a flatter iPhone 3GS, or to be more current, looks a lot like the leaks of the upcoming budget-friendly iPhone. It originally debuted at $99 with 2-year contract, but now sells for $0.99 instead after lukewarm reception.
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Facebook has updated its iOS app to version 6.0 and has introduced two new features that are from the Facebook Home experience: Chat heads and stickers. Basically, chat heads are avatar icons of Facebook friends. They take up a small part of the screen whenever a user is messaging another Facebook friend, no matter where the user happens to be in the app. We assume that the goal is for it to be a frictionless experience when communicating with others friends; rather than having the chat feature limited to silos or in sections within the app. Along with the update, Facebook added a sticker feature, like emoticons, while messaging, seemingly aimed at teens and adults who might never publicly admit that they like the feature. Facebook for the iPad also sees a News Feed redesign that is cleaner with a bolder, more legible typeface. Gear Live tip: users might have to delete the old version first, or reboot the iDevice, in order to activate these new features now since Facebook is slowly rolling the feature out to users. Facebook 6.0 for iOS is now available in the App Store.
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Facebook Home is now available for download on Google Play, as promised last week at the Facebook Home announcement event. If you're the owner of an HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, or Samsung Galaxy Note II, you are good to go and can download and apply Facebook's launcher right away. You can also pick up the HTC First, which ships with Facebook Home built right in. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 will also be capable of running Facebook Home.
As a reminder, Facebook Home is a replacement lock screen, home screen, and chat experience for compatible Android smartphones, bringing pictures feeds to the forefront, and the new Chat Heads feature that will allow you to stay manage Facebook messages in a much more efficient way.
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This morning Facebook revealed a new Android-based mobile initiative called Facebook Home. Mark Zuckerberg was on hand to talk about what would happen if your phone was made to be about "people, not apps," and the result is Facebook Home.
While many assumed that Facebook would be releasing its own hardware device (despite our assurance that it wouldn't!), Home is, instead, a suite of Facebook apps that work together to put Facebook front and center across your entire Android device, making it feel like a "Facebook Phone." For example, in the Coverfeed app, it takes over both the Android homescreen and lock screen, and then provides a regular stream of updates from your friends--all without you tapping a Facebook app icon or even swiping to unlock. From the home screen you can even comment and like the updates that flow across your display.