By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 13, 2013 11:25 AM EDT
Facebook Home is now available in the Google Play store for free download, ready to turn phones into social networking machines.
Facebook unveiled its new Facebook Home earlier this month, and now the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can turn into almost Facebook phones.
Facebook Home went live on Google Play on Friday, Apr. 12, and is available for download at this link. The new $99.99 HTC First smartphone also made its debut on Friday, launching as a handset preloaded with Facebook Home. According to Facebook, the interface of the new HTC First will also become available for the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 at a later date.
While demand for Facebook Home is unlikely to be very high, those who do want the more-than-just-an-app Facebook on their Android phones (other than the select smartphones mentioned above) will have to wait a bit longer until Facebook makes Home available for more handsets. Android tablets will get access to Facebook Home at some point as well, said the company, but no date is available for now.
Meanwhile, early adopters get some more good news: Facebook Home will not feature annoying ads for at least several months, according to the company. Facebook bills the whole concept as the Home "experience."
Facebook Home doesn't actually turn a handset into the long-rumored full-fledged "Facebook phone" many expected. It's not a new mobile operating system either, not is it a forked version of Android. It is, however, a bit more than a Facebook button stuck to the phone's app launcher, and it brings much deeper Facebook integration for social network addicts.
Basically, it serves up an entire Facebook parade to devices as soon as users turn their handsets on. First and foremost, Facebook Home lives and breathes on a handset's lockscreen, displaying a stripped-down version of the user's News Feed. This tailored News Feed version comes complete with alerts and the ability to like or comment on items as they appear across the screen. Check out the video to get a glimpse of what Facebook Home is about.
Other than that, Facebook also tweaked the basic Android app launcher to include a messaging management system called Chat Heads. The updated version of Facebook Messenger brings this new Chat Heads feature, as well as integrated text messaging capability.
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