Wondering what Facebook plans to unveil at its April 4th event? Wonder no more, as the upcoming Facebook Home app has been prematurely outed thanks to a leaked system dump of the so-called Facebook phone that HTC is building.
The crew of Android Police spent the weekend digging through the software and uncovered a number of clues about what Facebook Home is and how it will function. It’s not another standalone app like Messenger. Instead it’s a sort of home screen and launcher for everything Facebook. That gives the impression that the software on this phone (the HTC Myst) is going to be pretty thick. Facebook Home sits atop HTC Sense 4.5, which itself sits atop the vanilla Android experience.
While it’s all but certain that the HTC Myst will be the first Android device to be “blessed” with Facebook Home, clues in the ROM make it clear that the app will be available for other phones as well.
Facebook Home is designed to launch as soon as the phone finishes booting, and it’s got access to all sorts of functionality that you wouldn’t normally expect from a Facebook app. It can disable the Android lock screen, turn Wi-Fi on and off, identify which apps are currently running, and alter the phone’s settings. On the Myst, Facebook Home completely replaces HTC’s own home screen app.
As expected, the purpose of Facebook Home is to deliver a unified, always-on Facebook experience to Android users. Mark Zuckerberg would no doubt love to be able to build the same sort of app for iOS, but Apple would never allow that to happen.
The ROM dump also included some insight into the HTC Myst hardware. It’s running a dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset, packs 1GB of RAM, and has a 4.3-inch 720P display. The rear camera has a modest 5MP sensor and it’s paired with a 1.3MP unit on the front. This is no HTC One. It’s a more modest offering that’s clearly meant to appeal to Facebook’s most avid users.
Those folks will be plenty excited about the new app. Others, like me, are hoping that the company has also taken the time to make a new, lag-free version of the standalone Facebook app that doesn’t make you feel like you’re connected to the internet on a 14.4 modem.