Facebook Android app puts social network first

Brandon Bailey / San Jose Mercury News /

Published Apr 5, 2013 at 05:00AM

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook announced Thursday a new mobile application for Android phones that promises to “put people ahead of apps,” by using photos and updates from the social network as the central feature of a phone’s home screen.

The app, called Facebook Home, will arrive pre-installed on a new smartphone made by HTC, but it will also be available for other Android phones through the Google Play app store on April 12.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised a crowd of reporters and analysts that the software will “turn your Android phone into a great, simple social device.”

The new software also integrates text messaging and Facebook’s own messaging service in a way that lets users chat with friends without interrupting other functions or apps on the device. While phones and computers have traditionally been designed around programs and apps, Zuckerberg said, the new software is intended to make the phone highlight “people, not apps.”

The new HTC phone, called First, will be sold through AT&T for $99 starting April 12. Zuckerberg said the app will be available for other Android phones in coming weeks.