Facebook Announces Its $99 Smartphone, Shows Off ‘Facebook Home’ For Android
In a presentation given earlier today at Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new smartphone in collaboration with HTC called ‘First’, that runs on AT&T’s network and will be released on April 12th for $99 (via The Verge). The company also showed off its new ‘Facebook Home’ app for Android, that puts feeds from the social network on the home page of Android phones.
HTC’s First will come with the new Facebook Home out of the box, offering a superior Facebook experience. According to the AT&T CEO, First offers the most immersive Facebook engagement ever seen. The smartphone will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and will have a deeper integration for system notifications than the version of Facebook Home available for download on other Android devices.
The First will come in four colors: red, light blue, white, and black. It has a very minimal design, and is said to “not be huge” thanks to its 4.3-inch display. Below the display are three capacitive buttons, and the overall shape is a generic rounded rectangle with cameras on the front and back. It is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, making it one of the first phones on the market with this chip. The First supports AT&T’s 4G LTE network and will be available April 12th for $99.99.
Zuckerberg added that Facebook Home app is “the best version of Facebook there is”. The software will act like a “wrapper” for the Android operating system and become the main way to use a phone. Notifications, images and messages will appear on the main screen of the phone instead of being accessible via a downloadable app.
Zuckerberg reiterated why the company is focused on the software rather than a single phone. Zuckerberg said that a great phone might sell 10 million or 20 million units–one percent of Facebook’s total user base.
“We’re not building a phone and we’re not building an operating system but we are also building something that is a lot more… than an ordinary app,” he said.
Facebook Home will be available via Google’s Play Store as a download from 12 April on five phones, two from HTC and three from Samsung.