Facebook just launched a new 'apperating system': Facebook Home

Welcome 'Home', Goodbye 'Apps' 

The rumors that Facebook will announce its own smartphone on April 4th, an 'fphone' or 'Facephone' (or whatever you call it), to compete with the iPhone and the Galaxy S 4, were wrong. It's not a phone, it's not a new OS, or a fork of the Android operating system (like Amazon's Kindle fire), but its more than an app... it's an 'apperating system' (see Wired.com article). It will turn your Android phone into a huge and simple social device. It's definitely easier to provide a free app for all the Android phones out in the world than selling phones...

Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. This Home experience is definitely going in this direction... but perhaps too much? The Company created a new phone experience, to make it easier to connect, consume and share content with your family and friends in a way that you will never miss something about your friends anymore. With Facebook Graph search, it might become the best means to experience the Internet (and a huge competitor for other search engines). There are also other new features such as 'Coverfeed', 'Chat Heads', 'App Launcher' and 'App Drawer' (see here for the definitions). 

However, it seems that not everyone likes the new Facebook Home. Mat Honan from Wired.com described this new apperating system as another triumph of mediocrity (see here) 'It’s not the best communications platform; that’s Twitter or WordPress. It’s not the best photo sharing app; that’s Instagram or Flickr or maybe even Snapchat. It’s certainly not the best app platform, the best address book or the best messaging service. Likewise, it’s so easy to hate on Facebook for privacy policies, or the annoying ads, or for constantly rearranging things, or the things your crazy uncle posts there or, well, hell — take your pick. But Facebook is really, really good at connecting people. And that means it can be just OK at everything else'. Even if I mostly agree with him, Facebook has a community of more than 1 billion people, and it seems that they are happy with it. 

What about the name? Lets be honest, it is not really innovative... We already knew about the home button on smartphones to bring you back to the to homescreen. Mark Zuckerberg just added the word Facebook in front of it to make it 'special': Facebook Home. Yeah right, I don't think his marketing people spent ages coming up with it ...

What about the other apps ( in the App Launcher and App Drawer)? With Facebook's new approach on Android, It seems that Facebook is trying to get more users into its services and away from, among others, Google Services or Twitter. For instance, with the new message features, will people still be using Google Talk? A bigger financial problem for Google will be Facebook's advertising services directly on Android user's home and lock screens. 

Facebook Home launches April 12 on Google Play on five Android smartphones plus a new phone from HTC named  HTC First for $100 (another rectangle with rounded edges and home button... looks very like the Iphone! Tim Cook, if you read this, its time to act).

For now, the question is: do we really need this new Facebook Home? Are we not already spending (wasting) too much time on it... ?! With the future launching of Google Glass and Apple I-watch, it seems that only Facebook believes in the smartphone future. 

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