Version 3.4 of Facebook is currently rolling out, introducing features that were previously only available in the beta version. New features include the ability to share News Feed stories with friends via a private message and the ability to store the app on a MicroSD card, freeing up precious space. Facebook Home has also received some tender loving care. While the app hasn't been expanded to any additional models, current users can now create folders by dragging on app on top of another.
Newly appointed head of Google's Android division Sundar Pichai - who perhaps not-so-incidentally also leads the Chrome OS team - recently sat down with Wired for his first interview since Andy Rubin's departure. Though he didn't speak to specifics about any mysterious Motorola smartphone or Chromebook Pixel follow-up, Pichai did shed some light on the state of Android, Google's open-source philosophy, and future projects.
When asked if separate operating systems - Chrome OS and Android, for instance - confuse users, Pichai said the OS is less important than the apps, ecosystem, and backend people rely on.
Facebook phone. Those two words in that order have been repeated over and over again for the last couple of years, simply as rumors for the longest time. Then the HTC Status hit the scene with an integrated Facebook button – still, Zuckerberg himself claimed that it wasn't Facebook's phone.
Many months later, the rumor mill started whirring once again about an alleged phone designed just for Facebook. This time, for some reason, the rumors held more water.
Facebook did a soft launch of its new Home launcher late last week, which left a lot of its international users out in the cold. Good news: if you've been dying to get your hands on Home, it's now available outside of the US. Of course, device restrictions still apply, as the app is only available on a handful of handsets right now:
- HTC One X
- HTC One X+
- HTC One
- Samsung Galaxy S III
- Samsung Galaxy Note II
- Samsung Galaxy S 4
And if you like what it has to offer but aren't necessarily sold on using it full time, there's an easy way to keep all of Home's functionality without sacrificing your existing launcher.
When I went hands-on with Facebook's new launcher a few days ago, I stepped away pleased with the overall experience, but felt that it lacked a lot of the features a power user (or even a regular user who does stuff) would like. Still, I found the "lock screen" functionality to be a very pleasant experience – turning my phone on to nothing more than a scrolling photo and the time is very minimal and relaxing.
Back in September of last year, Google chairman Eric Schmidt told us that Android had reached 1.3 million daily activations every day. Today, he tells us that number is up to 1.5 million, which is actually not that staggering of an increase. Andy Rubin said the number was 900,000 per day in June of 2012, so the increase from there to September was much, much faster than the increase from September to now.
Facebook Home has arrived, and whether we like it or not, it's here to stay. The 2.5/5.0 rating at the close of the day isn't exactly inspiring, but it's likely a knee-jerk reaction from Facebook haters, which I am confident will go up to somewhere in the 3.X range with further improvements. Cameron addressed the current state of Home pretty well earlier today, so now that the dust has settled, it's time for a fun video to finish off the work week, both for Facebook employees who worked on the product and us, its potential (but unlikely) users.
Hey! Facebook Home is here, and you can totally have it. So long as you have a compatible phone, of course. It just so happens that I have one such phone laying on my desk (an HTC One X+), so I figured I'd give this whole Facebook as your phone experience a shot. Been playing with it for around an hour or so when I started writing this, and it's... different.
We just saw updates to Facebook and Messenger that were preparing for Facebook Home to arrive on Android. Now, the app is rolling out to the Play Store, albeit slowly. As of right now, links to the app here are pulling up the entry on some devices. We've been trying it out here at AP and some of us can get the app to come up, some can't, but it's clearly on its way.