Since the social networking giant Facebook shared media invites about its new "Home on Android
", there has been speculation that a Facebook Phone running on Android platform was in the offing. But such rumours have been making the rounds for many years now. A couple of years ago, HTC launched ChaCha and Salsa smartphones with dedicated 'f' (Facebook) keys that updated the status directly, without launching the app.
But then native Facebook applications were available on all mobile platforms and the popular social networking client was just a click away. Those not impressed by the Facebook app interface had an even better option in apps like Friendcaster. Of late, Facebook has been deeply integrated into most mobile platforms including iOS, BlackBerry and Windows. On Android devices the app comes pre-installed.
So there was never any need for a dedicated Facebook phone
. But the idea was to make people glued to the social network. While a dedicated phone would have restricted the user base, an app would give people more access. Also, having just one Facebook phone could have not worked. Even if it worked, Facebook would have had to come up with regular updates and versions. They would have been pressured to come up with yet another phone sometime next year or have a handful or more Facebook phones to cater a wider audience.
But with "Facebook Home"
, Facebook has moved deep into the Android eco-system by offering a "family of applications" that give an immersive experience by replacing the Android home skin with your Facebook contact photos, status updates, and chat icons everywhere.
While the company showcased HTC First at the "Home on Android" event, it will only be one of the first smartphones to have the Facebook Home pre-installed. This application will be available on the Play Store for a free download starting April 12 and will work on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the recently announced HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S IV.