Facebook Home pre-release APK leaked, works fine on Nexus 4

Turns out we don’t have to wait until April 12 to test-drive the Facebook Home. Paul at Modaco has posted the APK for Facebook Home (they are actually three APKs) to install on your Android phone. As this has been taken out from a pre-release HTC First ROM, it is quite buggy and Chat Heads don’t seem to be working.

Also, there is a specific set to requirements to runs this. It has been tested on Nexus 4, and if your Android phone satisfies the following requirements, you are good to go.

In order to use the leak, you need an Android device with a maximum resolution of 1280×768 and the ability to completely uninstall your existing Facebook app. This is important, as the leaked APKs are re-signed and can’t just be installed over the top of an existing installation. This will automatically exclude some devices which have Facebook installed in the base ROM.

You can grab the APK downloads from Modaco.com.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, the Facebook Home app is scheduled to be released in Google Play on April 12, which is just four days away. The app will initially be only compatible with select phones like HTC One X, X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II.

Facebook Home to only support Android 4.0+ devices

When Facebook unveiled its new home-screen replacement app “Facebook Home” for Android, it skipped a small detail in the main announcement and even the press release. Apparently, Facebook Home is only compatible with phones powered by Ice Cream Sandwich and newer Android versions, the social giant revealed in Q&A following the event.

If your phone has Gingerbread or below Android versions, which are still present on about 45pc of total Android devices, you are out of luck.  Facebook did not reveal if it plans to expand the compatibility to Gingerbread, but it seems highly unlikely. Facebook is clearly planning for the future and in the next one year or so, Gingerbread and older versions will be out of the scene and we will have a majority of devices running on 4.0+

Set to be released in Google Play on April 12, Facebook Home will initially only support – HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II, but S 4 and HTC One support will soon follow. Other Android devices with Android 4.0+ are expected to get Facebook Home support in the coming months.

Company is also not bringing the tablet support right-away; Android tablets are likely to get Facebook Home in the coming months.


Facebook makes ‘Home’ official, available beginning April 12

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  took to the stage in California to announce their new home-screen experience for Android users called ‘Home.’ In simple terms, Facebook Home is like any other Android launcher that you have seen so far during your Android days with the soul of Facebook.

In Facebook’s words, it is a combination of multiple social apps by the company, to make the Android phones more people-centric and not app-centric.

Facebook Home is set to be released in Google Play on April 12 and will be initially available for select phones. These phones are HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, and Samsung Galaxy Note II, all of which are some of the most popular Android phones on the planet. The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4 and just released HTC One will be next in line to receive Facebook Home. Other Android devices will be getting ‘Home’ in the coming months.

This Android user-interface will not be available for Android tablets initially although Facebook is working on a tablet version, which is expected to be launched in the coming months.

“We asked ourselves ­if sharing and connecting are what matter most, what would your phone be like if it put your friends first? Our answer is Home. Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps,” Facebook noted in a press release.

Facebook Home features

Cover feed: It is the Facebook replacement of your Android lock-screen and home-screen. It is an image-centric version of Facebook newsfeed.

Chat Heads: It is a unified messaging feature from Facebook. It combines Facebook messenger and SMS

Notifications:  Information about stuff that is directly meant for you on Facebook.

Apps: A list of your favourite Android apps from your phone. You can add or remove as many you want. It can be accessed by swiping up the screen.



Watch Facebook’s Android event here [Live]

For those of you, who were living under a rock or something, Facebook is holding a press event in about an hour and will announce something related to Android. Thanks to all the leaks in the recent few weeks, we have some idea of what to expect today.

Here is a break-up of things, while you wait for the event to begin, which is scheduled for 1:00pm EDT — Thu Apr 4, 2013.  Live-stream below.

  1. Facebook Home: As per reports circulating around the web and all the leaks that we have seen so far, Facebook will be introducing “Facebook Home” today. It is a customised user interface (in simpler terms – launcher, doesn’t seem more than that) for Android. It will have Facebook integration ‘right in your face’ kind, allowing you to post, access, check-in or chat on Facebook from almost everywhere in the least number of steps.
  2. HTC First: HTC is also expected to make an appearance at the event and why not – because when you are showing off a user interface, you need a device. HTC and Facebook will most probably be announcing ‘HTC First’ smartphone at the event, which will be the first phone to come with Facebook Home interface.
  3. Information about other Facebook Home devices: Along with HTC First, Facebook is also expected to reveal information about other phones or tablets that will come pre-loaded with Facebook Home UI. According to reports, company has been in active talks with several other manufacturers and we might see results today, but we won’t really bet on it as HTC would not certainly like to see a competitor with it on the podium.
  4. Carrier Partnerships: For markets like US, every manufacturer needs active carrier partnerships to launch a device and successfully market it. Facebook and HTC also need such partnerships and we would ideally see at least one major telecom operator from the markets where Facebook Home powered HTC First is going on sale first.


Facebook Home UI screenshots leaked online

It is no secret that Facebook is going to unveil its Android home-screen replacement (or launcher) app – Facebook Home – tomorrow at a press event. The leaks have coming from all over and after the alleged press-render of the first phone to come pre-loaded with Facebook Home – HTC First, we have the first screenshots of this Android launcher.

As you can see in this image (more below), Facebook Home just seems like a Facebook-oriented launcher for Android. The social giant wants to completely take over home-screen of Android users with Facebook Home and aims to be in front and center.

EVLeaks, which has posted these screenshots at 9to5Google notes:

From the imagery we’ve seen, Facebook Home incorporates a minimal aesthetic with a lot of focus on full screen photography. As expected, there are hooks to the primary Facebook functions available from most menus, obviating the need to actually navigate to the dedicated app or site in many instances.

We will know more tomorrow, when Facebook showcases Facebook Home and HTC First smartphone. The phone is rumoured to come with 4.3-inch 720p display, dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, Android 4.1.2, Sense 4.5, 5MP rear camera, 1.6MP front camera, No SD Card, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n.


HTC First, the rumoured phone to feature Facebook Home, appears online

We have been hearing about the rumoured HTC built phone that is going to be the first device to feature Facebook’s upcoming home-screen replacement. Well, it is likely to be known as HTC First, and not Myst, which was earlier rumoured, and was probably an internal code-name.

As per the press renders shared by EVLeaks, HTC First will be available in four colour options – red, white, black and light blue.

In the earlier reports, we have heard that HTC First will come with a 4.3-inch 720p display, Qualcomm MSM8960 Dual-Core processor, 1GB RAM, Android 4.1.2, Sense 4.5, 5MP rear camera, 1.6MP front camera, No SD Card, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n.

The press event, where we are going to see the Facebook Home and HTC First announcements, is just over 30 hours away.

Facebook to hold Android event on April 4, phone launch?

Facebook has started sending out invites to the tech press for an event on April 4, where the company promises to show something related to Android.

The invite states ‘come see out new home on Android,’ which could many things including new app, or a home-screen replacement that integrates Facebook or even an Android powered phone with Facebook specific customizations.

TechCrunch is betting its money on the phone launch, the tech blog wrote that the phone is going to be the much rumoured HTC device with modified Android operating system.  TechCrunch added that that customisations won’t be something like what Amazon does with Android, but will just have an extra flavour over Android that will bring all sorts of extra Facebook functionality.

“We’ve also heard it referred to as an “application layer”. Imagine Facebook’s integration with iOS 6, but on steroids, and built by Facebook itself. It could have a heavy reliance on Facebook’s native apps like Messenger, easy social sharing from anywhere on the phone, and more,” noted TechCrunch in a post.

In a separate report, 9To5Google adds that Facebook and HTC are currently working on join ad campaign, which gives credence to the reports of HTC made Facebook phone, else why would HTC be advertising with Facebook.

9To5Google writes:

“According to people familiar with the development of the marketing campaign for the Facebook/HTC phone, the advertisements are designed to focus on the potential user of the device, not on the hardware or software. As a nod to this phone being a much expanded version of the Facebook application found on iOS and standard Android devices, one of the tag-lines for the device is “more than just an app.”

The report also notes quoting a source, who has seen this alleged Facebook phone hardware, that this phone remind of an iPhone and packs a display bigger than 4-inch. Some previous reports had pegged the Facebook phone to feature a 4.3-inch display, which sounds similar to more than 4-inch display that 9to5Google source is talking about.

There is no way to authenticate these reports, but at least we will be seeing something related to Android on April 4, so take all this with a pinch of salt and wait for the actual announcement.

Facebook Android app updated; lets you change your profile picture

Just a day after updating its iOS app, Facebook has pushed an update to its Android app too. Those who’ve used the updated app already would’ve noticed that the app now allows users to change their profile picture. Also, if users do not wish to see some articles on their News Feed, they can hide the stories right from the app or report spam on some post in the News Feed, if they wish to. Group messaging is a popular feature on Facebook and the update now allows Android users to initiate a group message with lesser taps.

The Facebook Android app allows users to see their friends’activities on the platform. Users can share their updates, photos and videos with those in their friend list. Each time a friend likes or comments on a user’s post, he will be notified about the same. Those interested can also text, chat and have group conversations. In addition to that, users can play games and use the chosen apps. To download the app, head to the Google Play store.

Facebook messenger app updated

Facebook’s popular Messenger service, which has its own standalone app, is getting a voice message feature in its latest update. The service has relied on the combination of text and picture messages, as is the case with most instant messaging platforms, but is now aiming itself squarely at the likes of Voxer and other voice messaging apps out there with this latest addition.

You can send short messages back and forth quickly, and the UI is very simple. The feature is accessed from the “plus” button on the side of the text box, the same way you add pictures and smilies. Just press and hold the record button to start talking, then release it to let the message send. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to let you cancel a message if you happen to have misspoke, but you can see why Facebook made it auto-send to keep the “walkie talkie” type of feel.

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Facebook for Android now allow non Facebook users to use it

You will now be able to use Facebook Messenger for Android without actually needing a Facebook account. It is also the first product from the company that is open to people without a Facebook account.

Whatsapp buy-out rumours might be wrong, but Facebook is surely trying to make a Whatsapp competitor out of Facebook Messenger by allowing anyone with a name and phone number to use Messenger app.

Company noted in a press note:

Starting today, you can create a Messenger account with just your name and phone number, and start messaging your mobile contacts. Just install the app and tap Get Started to reach your contacts faster, start group conversations, share photos and more. An update to Messenger for Android is available today, and Messenger accounts will become available over the next few weeks.

This update will initially be available in a limited set of countries including India, Australia, Indonesia, Venezuela, and South Africa, but soon be rolled-out to other countries as well.