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After a lot of speculation in the tech world about Facebook launching its own smart phone, Facebook on April 5th announced its Android app called Facebook Home. Designed in conjunction with Taiwan-based phone manufacturer HTC, Facebook has designed an app which allows you to turn your smart phone into a social phone which puts your friend network at the centre of your phone.

Facebook will launch its revolutionary people-centric app on HTC First, a cheap $99 smart phone (Rs. 5,429) which will have the Home app pre-installed. This phone uses a modified Android system and a 4.3 inch display. It features a decent 5-megapixel rear lens and a 1.6- megapixel front facing camera for video calls, and 16 gigabytes of storage. Facebook Home will also be available on Android devices such as the HTC One X and One X Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2.

Considering the amount of time an average teen spends messaging friends, Home will simplify their needs. The clincher is a special feature called Chat Heads which keeps your chat thread live on screen no matter what else you are doing on the phone, whether it is playing a game or using another app. The Facebook Home app also features all your favourite Facebook activity – news feed updates and photo sharing – on your phone’s home screen.

While Apple users will have to wait, Facebook Home will be downloadable on Android phones mentioned above starting  April 12 in the US.

Faceboook Home app

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claims that the idea behind introducing Facebook Home was “seeing the world through people, not apps”.  Out of the social network’s 1.06 billion monthly users, 680 million log in to Facebook using a mobile device. Facebook Home aims to enhance the experience of this large share of Facebook users and concretize its place in the market.

As good as the concept seems, there are some downsides to the app as well. Constantly running Facebook Home on your app could drain your battery. Critics also state that there is the likelihood of Facebook Home opening up to advertising if it is a success, which could translate to irritating ads popping up on your phone’s home screen.  In the meantime, Zuckerberg promised the Home software will be updated at least once a month to add more features and fix bugs.