For a few years now it’s been rumored that Facebook would be entering the mobile marketplace with a unique hardware devices of its own. Late last week however we were forced to come to terms with the reality that thsi was not happening with the announcement and later early release of the beta version of Home, Facebook’s Android launcher hoping to place people before apps.
So, what is Facebook Home? Facebook Home is a custom Android launcher and theme rolled into one. Currently its only available for a select group of Android phones but should be expanding in the near future. Sorry iPhone users but this won’t be coming your way since Apple doesn’t allow custom anything for your phones aside from your exterior case. What is a custom launcher you ask? In Android the launcher allows us to access apps and control different aspects of the user experience.
To be honest, I really like this idea. Our phones really are for connecting with those around us. Keeping us in touch with family & friends while we are on the go, at work or out of town. The only problem is that I’m not that close with all 977 of my Facebook friends. Some of them are friends from freshman year of college, some are work associates, some are loose acquaintances and don’t require my constant attention to every detail of their life. Even for some of my closer family and friends, I just don’t care that much (sorry!) and I really dislike the idea of having to view these tidbits through Facebook’s lens.
I can see some teens and college students easily adopting this since their whole world revolves around there interactions with the people around them but for people like me, where efficiency is key, I don’t see the adoption rate being so great. I need to know things like battery life, calls, messages, emails, I use fast app switching to bounce from email to web to apps. I also feel a little uncomfortable with all the information made available to the launcher knowing how Facebook often likes to use (and abuse) personal data such as all calls, messages and items stored on the phone.
Time will tell if this was a great move by Facebook or just another passing idea aimed at data collection but I still give them props for going out of their way to do something different.