Contrary to speculation in numerous media outlets this week, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) did not unveil an HTC Corp (TPE:2498) made phone today, nor a new OS. Instead, in the words of CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing a navy blue hoodie, “We’re not building a phone,” he says. “We’re not building an operating system. We’re building something that’s a whole lot deeper.”
Perhaps in a nod to a report by Flurry yesterday Zuckerberg then continued, “Facebook isn’t just a lightweight app that’s running everywhere,” Zuckerberg said, a bit defiantly. “On average we spend more than three times as much time on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as anywhere else. While I haven’t seen this number, 18% of all smartphone and tablet use is spent “browsing” Facebook.
Assisted by a video display behind him Zuckerberg then began walking attendees through “Home.”
Home features a cover feed that serves as a home page. If a friend sends a notification it appears on the home page with a thumbnail image of the friend.
“That’s putting people first in your phone,” Zuckerberg quickly added.
Zuckerberg then shifted gears to the next feature, one that actually drew some “oohs and ahhs” from the crowd. If you’re in an app and receive a message, the thumbnail image of the sender pops up on the side of the screen. You can tap it and go straight into message mode – then easily surf back into the app without missing a thing.
Zuckerberg then added, “We think that Chatheads are this great, personal way to do messaging,”
Adam Mosseri, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) product designer, then joined the show essentially repeating Mr. Zuckerberg’s message.
“There’s nothing between you and your content. You can literally just reach out and touch it,” Mosseri opined while demonstrating on his phone. “What we’re trying to do is shift people’s focus away from tasks and apps, and toward people,” he continued.
Corey Ondrejka, head mobile engineer, came next. Perhaps the biggest announcement of the day came from him when he stated that “Home” is not yet available on tablets, but for those running the most current version of Facebook for Android on their phones, installation is but one click away from the app. He added that first-time users will be able to choose between a trial version and a full installation.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) executive Ralph De La Vega then took the stage device in hand.
The HTC Corp (TPE:2498) device is called the HTC Corp (TPE:2498) First, billed as “the ultimate social phone.” It’s the only phone that has Facebook Home pre-loaded and pre-optimized. It’s a four-color phone with AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) LTE network speed and an a price of $99.99 than can be pre-ordered right now for delivery on April 14th.
Following De La Vega’s unveiling of the HTC First, Zuckerberg returned to the stage to share his thoughts on the future of the internet, the world’s mobile use, and Facebook’s plans for world domination leaving this writer simply saying, “Wow. $99.99, that’s something to think about.”