Business Technology

Monday 20 November 2017

Facebook plans mobile phone takeover

Matt Warman

A Facebook homescreen and ‘launcher’ for a range of Android phones is likely to be launched on Thursday.

The company’s ‘new home on Android’ will put “Facebook first”, sources told the Wall Street Journal. It is widely expected to centre around a new Facebook homescreen that will turn the social network's Android app into a core smartphone component.

Software leaked to Android Police appears to show that while HTC is expected to unveil a mid-range ‘Facebook phone’ on Thursday night in California, the new features will also be available to Samsung phones as well as to those running standard Android. With Samsung increasingly dominant among Android manufacturers, such an approach would give Facebook access to a far greater market than if it simply limited its new services to a single device.

Central to the ‘new home’ will be a homescreen that is expected to prioritise Facebook services, including the social network’s messenger and camera apps, as well as updates from friends.

The world’s largest social network has been attempting to improve its performance on smaller screens, which now make up 23pc of its revenues.

Analysts have expressed continued concerns, however, that more users are migrating to mobile phones in particular, and that Facebook will struggle to make money from those people.

Although Facebook has worked with HTC before, on the ChaCha phone, it has not previously met with enormous success. The new device will reportedly feature a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM with a 4.3-inch screen. This, combined with the fact it will run Android 4.1.2 "Jelly Bean" and HTC Sense 4.5, reinforces suggestions that Facebook does not see hardware as key for its success on mobile. It will also feature 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.6-megapixel front camera.

On the earning calls for its most recent results, Zuckerberg said “We're not going to build a phone", but emphasised that it was easy to integrate with Android because of its open architecture.

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