Facebook Home for Android is now official

Facebook Home for Android
Facebook brings Android on home

"We're finally going to talk about that Facebook phone..."

And thus Mark Zuckerberg began his Facebook Android event today, but before you swoon with phone-lust, he went on to add: "Or more accurately we're going to talk about how you can turn your Android into a great social device.

"We're not building a phone and we're not building an operating system."

Instead, Facebook has created a new experience for Android called Facebook Home. It brings all the social elements of Facebook to the core of your Android phone - it's more than an app but it's less than an operating system and it will be available to download form the Google Play Store next week.

Overlay, underlay

It's essentially a group of Facebook-friendly apps that work together.

Coverfeed is the lock-screen experience - instead of just seeing the time or your wallpaper, you'll now see what's going on on Facebook; status updates, check-ins and more, all with your friends' cover photos used as a scrolling background. You can like and comment from here too.

Notifications will also pop up when you have an SMS, a Facebook message or, of course, a poke. Tapping the notifications takes you into the Facebook app, which seems a little clunky given this deep integration but hey. What can you do.

In case you want to access any apps that aren't Facebook, Home offers a simple app menu too which is easily customised by long-tapping and swiping icons around.


Chat Heads is the way that Facebook wants to handle your messaging, both your Facebook messaging and chat, and your SMS messages.

It allows you to have multiple conversations going on at once, and we can see how they came up with the name - as you get a message, your pal's head floats across the screen and you tap it to get involved. Finished with them? Just flick them away.

So, you're sold. You want in on this Facebook Phone action. But how do you get Facebook Home? If you have the most recent Facebook and Messaging apps on your Android phone then you'll see a message in the app that takes you to Google Play to download Home.

Home works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Plus the snazzy new HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, and more will be compatible in the coming months.

Also coming soon is Android tablet compatibility - slated for release "within several months" but today's launch applies only to Android phones.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.