As rumored, Facebook launched “Facebook Home” today, an Android launcher that promises deep Facebook integration, right on the lock and home screens of Android phones.
Facebook was smart about this. Instead of a skin or a new version of Android, this shouldn’t get Google too riled up. In fact, Facebook Home will be for free, on the Google Play store.
Watching The Verge’s hands-on really surprising to me. It’s the first time that I’ve thought “wow, that looks delightful” when it comes to Android. In the past, the OS has felt very utilitarian to me, but this is anything but drab.
A great example of this is the launcher’s unfortunately-named “Chat Heads” feature. While it’s just a Facebook Messenger + SMS mashup, the UI is ever-present, with round avatars floating above the UI. It’s all fast and smooth, if not a little heavy-handed.
All in all, if you’re deep in Facebook’s ecosystem, this looks like a great new way to interact with that content (and the ads Facebook will add to the stream in the future).
But I’m not. So there’s that.