Facebook Reveals New ‘Home’ For Android Phones

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(from billboard.biz, April 4, 2013) Facebook has found a new “Home” on Android gadgets, and aims to put its social network at the center of people’s mobile experiences. On April 12, Android users will be able to download the new Facebook application, which will become the hub of their Android smartphones. This includes a phone from HTC, which comes pre-loaded with Home and available starting that day, for AT&T Inc. carriers.

Home is part of Facebook’s initiative to shift its users’ focus from “apps and tasks” to people. The new product, seen on the home screen of Android phones, is a group of apps designed to help people share their life with Facebook friends. In the past, Android users saw apps for mail, maps and other services when they first turn on their phone, but will now be greeted with photos and updates from their Facebook feeds. Ads will also be introduced in the future to run in the timeline.

The mobile advertising market is growing rapidly thanks in part to Facebook and Twitter, and a research firm, eMarketer, expects U.S. mobile ad spending to grow 77% this year to $7.29 billion, from $4.11 billion last year.

eMarketer said Wednesday that it expects Facebook Inc. to reap $965 million in U.S. mobile ad revenue in 2013. That’s about 2.5 times the $391 million in 2012, the first year that Facebook started showing mobile ads. Clark Fredricksen, Vice President at eMarketer, says “there are some clear reasons why a deeper integration with mobile operating systems and handsets make sense for Facebook. At the end of the day, the more deeply Facebook can engage consumers, no matter what device or operating system or handset,” the better.

“What Facebook wants is to put itself at the front of the Android user experience for as many Facebook users as possible and make Facebook more elemental to their customers’ experience,” said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin. Mark Zuckerberg proclaims “we think this is the best version of Facebook there is.”