Imagine your phone's home screen becoming one with your Facebook home feed. Users of Android phones will soon be able to experience that with the new Facebook Home feature. CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Home a "family of apps" at Thursday's announcement. Essentially, Home allows Facebook to take over the features on your homescreen, including photos, updates, contacts, notifications, and chat features. "It's gonna put your Facebook feed and your Facebook messages front and center on your phone," says High Tech Texan Michael Garfield. "So for you Facebook honks and fans, it's all yours...feel free to start downloading it next week."
Not all "Facebook honks" will be able to start downloading the new feature next week. Facebook Home will be available for free download starting April 12th, but only for most newer-model Android phones. If you're a Facebook fan with an iPhone, you'll have to wait. "Apple is gonna take a step back to see how this works and how many people are actually going to download this software, and if it does work I think the folks at Apple may be knocking on Facebook's door soon," says Garfield. Tablet owners will be disappointed too. Facebook says Home will not be available for tablets for a few months. Zuckerberg calls it a "slow roll out."
Many technology experts have been expecting Facebook to release its very own smart phone, which led to major anticipation of this week's announcement. But Garfield says it's a good thing that the company chose to stick to what it does best. "Facebook is not gonna worry about carrying your cell calls, you're not gonna be worrying about dropped calls, they're still leaving that to the wireless carriers like AT&T." As for the new Facebook Home software, Garfield isn't sure it's such a big deal. "Because there are already Facebook apps out there on your smart phones, and I think they work well," he says. "This is just another way for Facebook to continue to get publicity and, at the end of the day, help their stock price." If that was the goal, Thursday's announcement didn't do much. Facebook's stock rose just 82 cents for the day to close at $27.07 a share.