Facebook will reveal its next big thing for Android later today - but will it be the much-rumoured smartphone, or a radical new app instead?
Later tonight, Mark Zuckerberg will take to the stage to talk about the Facebook Phone, which is likely to be called Facebook Home. There have been numerous rumours about what will be announced, from a new smartphone running a Facebook-centric user interface, to an updated app that will replace the existing launcher on your phone. We’ll be bringing you the official word once it gets announced, but until then we’ve listed the rumours and speculation below.
The Facebook invite doesn’t say much, but the event is expected to be about a new phone
FACEBOOK PHONE SOFTWARE
Although the company has tried to keep it a secret until the official reveal, details of Facebook Home have already come out. A pre-release developer version of the software leaked online last week, and was swiftly torn apart to discover what updates it contained.
Android Police analysed some leaked code, which revealed references to other Android interface skins including Samsung’s Touchwiz UI, suggesting Facebook Home won’t be confined to specific hardware and could even be downloaded through the Google Play store.
FACEBOOK PHONE FEATURES
From the developer version that was leaked, Facebook Home appears to be a special app that’s not available elsewhere. It’s designed to have extra Android permissions so it can do the following: spawn windows that stay on top of other windows; it can turn off your lock screen; it can start when your phone starts; it can see what apps are running; it can change your Wi-Fi connection; and it can change system settings.
It would also appear that the Facebook app is going to be the home screen, replacing the stock Android version. Integrated into it are icons for composing updates, editing settings and Search. Surprisingly, given Facebook and Google’s rivalry, the search button is actually labelled ‘Google’.
Chat Heads is a new feature, which will run in the background and pop-up alerts as they come in. It’s hard to tell what the difference between this and the regular Facebook Messenger app is, based on the developer tear-down alone.
FACEBOOK PHONE HARDWARE
It’s widely expected that HTC will be revealed as the launch partner for the Facebook phone – pre-release images from Twitter user @evleaks have suggested a hero device known as the HTC Myst or HTC First will be the first to use the Facebook Home interface.
It will apparently have a 4.3in, 720p resolution display and be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, along with 1GB of RAM. A 5-megapixel camera should appear on the rear and a front-facing webcam will handle video calls. In most regards, then, a standard Android phone, running some new software.
The HTC First could be the Facebook Phone