Facebook on Thursday introduced a suite of mobile applications that enhance social interaction on Android phones, a move likely to allay investor concerns about the company's ability to thrive in the mobile era.
In keeping with reports preceding the event, Facebook has partnered with mobile hardware maker HTC and operator AT&T Inc. in the U.S., as well as others around the world. The social networking and advertising company has taken advantage of the flexibility of Google's open source Android operating system to integrate social interaction more deeply into the mobile user interface.
"Today our phones are designed around apps and not people," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a press conference at the company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. "And we want to flip that around."
In practical terms, Facebook has assembled a suite of mobile apps called Facebook Home that includes Cover Feed, Notifications, Chat Heads, App Launcher and Instagram. These apps have been integrated into the Android interface make phone usage unavoidably social. It's more than interface cosmetics but less than a full-blown operating system.
Cover feed is a newsfeed that presents a stream of updates on the lock screen. Notifications assembles app events and messages from friends. Chat Heads is a new mobile interpretation of Facebook Messenger. App Launcher is a Home Screen app that replaces the generic Android launch experience. And Instagram is Facebook's popular photo sharing app.
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— Thomas Claburn, Editor-at-Large, Information Week