Look, a phone! It’s a new phone! It’s a forked OS! No, it’s just a new Facebook-designed launcher for Android! As I watched Facebook’s presentation for their new Home modification for phones being powered by Google’s OS, which is quite a few, I kept wondering who this would be totally cool for? Despite the fact that I’ll throw it on my Galaxy Nexus – which isn’t one of the first five phones supported when it launches on April 12 – just to give it a whirl, I already know that keeping it on mid- to long-term is going to be a very difficult proposition.
If you haven’t seen the Facebook Home presentation, it goes like this: because Android is incredibly modifiable, Facebook has designed their own phone experience. From the lock screen, you can simply swipe to see photos from your friends. Messages from Facebook friends, SMS, and otherwise show up as “chat heads” that float around the screen, wherever you want. The entire experience is designed around Facebook’s features first and foremost and it’s a long pass in their commitment to making a great mobile experience, especially when so many phones will (eventually) be able to use this interface.
But for power users like myself who like the purest Android, while this obviously has a very succinct point that will be very effective for more casual smartphone users, but will ultimately get in our way. Facebook reserves a special pocket for chosen apps, but didn’t unveil any folder or widget support, which means that if you need to quickly flip through apps, uh, good luck.
Facebook obviously isn’t shooting for people like me, but if you’re only popping out your phone to check the time and see how many notifications you have, this’ll be right up your alley when Facebook eventually supports your phone.