At an event at its Menlo Park headquarters in Northern California on Thursday, Facebook (FB) unveiled its new “Home” application, and said it would be available for Samsung and HTC model phones that run on Google's (GOOG) Android mobile operating system through the Google’s App store on April 12th.
Additionally, HTC will be releasing the HTC First, the only smartphone to come with the “Home” software already loaded, and will sell through AT&T (T) on a two-year contract for $99 dollars.
“Home” is not a huge departure from the Android OS to which everyone has become accustomed. However, it replaces the regular Android home screen with a new Facebook-centric one incorporating the most significant aspects of a user’s news feed, such as updates and notifications.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s language when introducing the new “Home” was telling: “We wanted this to feel like system software and not just an app that you run”.
That the new program is in fact more or less an app that you run and not system software of its own is indicative of the company’s increasing focus on advertising dollars, particularly when it comes to the mobile market. Thursday’s announcement is the second one in as many months in which the company has portrayed the attempt to increase its share of ad revenue as changes to its look and mobile innovation.
These changes and innovations certainly stand on their own, as many users will likely appreciate larger images, better-organized and categorized news feeds, and, if Facebook is an integral part of their lives/businesses, a phone or tablet that does away with the other pretenses by making their news feed the homepage.
And certainly, the company was due for some aesthetic changes and new developments, but ad revenue, which more than doubled last year alone, is still the central focus. That Facebook can do this using the proprietary OS of its most formidable opponent in the advertising market is another plus for the company.
The company’s shares bumped up on the news, and closed the day at a gain of 3.13 percent to $27.07. Meanwhile, Google lost 1.38 percent to end the day at $795.07.
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