Facebook Home Coming To Android - But What Is It?
Many have been suggesting for some time that Home will be a phone built by HTC and running a customised version of Android which firmly embeds Facebook as the heart of the device. Its certainly a potential winner for Facebook, especially given recent additions to its messaging platform which allow voice calling across the Facebook platform.Tied with the strength of Facebook messaging and you have a device which will finally kill off the mobile operator's highly profitable voice and text messaging services. Probably in favour of similarly lucrative data contracts, but that's not really the point here.
Others are claiming that Facebook's Home on Android is quite literally that - a launcher for Android with heavy integration of Facebook services. I'm not so sure that this will work quite as well as it sounds. Homescreens are highly personal places for Android users, tweaked to match each individual's preferences. Would a common Facebook home work for everybody? I'd say not. Also the software would need to be incredibly tightly programmed to support the range of hardware and capability across the Android estate.
The other option could be an advanced homescreen widget - either as part of a specific Android device or available to all - something like HTC's own Blinkfeed, but tailored specifically for Facebook. This sounds like the better option for Facebook. Driving users into Facebook more regularly than before - and we know that Facebook constitutes significant proportions of smartphone usage already. On Android that's in spite of the current Facebook widget, rather than because of it. A less appealing widget you'd struggle to find - unless you're looking at Twitter's similarly disastrous official Android client.
Whatever Facebook announces its going to be interesting to see how it plays out for iOS users. If the Facebook experience is significantly improved then iPhone users - traditionally big Facebook users - will suddenly find themselves using a second class phone.
A big push to convert? That depends on how good Facebook's announcement looks tomorrow.