On Thursday, Facebook announced that it will be launching a new feature on Android phones called “Home,” in an effort to alter the focus of smartphones from apps to people. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg started off his announcement with a joke: "Today, we're going to finally talk about that Facebook phone." He went on to explain that “Home” is a collection of apps that use a home screen and user interface that is focused around Facebook.
According to Zuckerberg, mobile users spend about 20 percent of their time on Facebook. "What would it feel like if our phones were designed around people, not apps?" Zuckerberg asked. “Home” might be the answer to that question.
Cover Feed is a feature that automatically slides from story to story across a number of different social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Foursquare. Another feature, Chat Heads, deals with text messages and chat messages. Once available, users will be able to go to the Google Play store and install Facebook Home, according to CBS News.
Gartner analyst Brian Blau says it makes sense for Facebook to become even more integrated on mobile devices. "It's natural to think that Facebook would want to think they would want to improve their own services on mobile," Blau said. "Why not give them a more fully featured offering?"
With more established companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry already entrenched in the mobile market, will Facebook be successful? Blau thinks they have a shot. "They stand a chance of success, but also I think they're going to face a lot of challenges," Blau said. "I don't think it's going to be weeks or months. I think it's going to be some time to get all their Android users to use this."
ABC News conducted a live stream of the announcement.