Stick to making your software better, Facebook

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: April 3, 2013

Tomorrow, we are finally seeing the end result to a ridiculous amount of rumors and speculation. On April 4, Facebook is taking the stage to unveil their “new home on Android.” We’ve all heard the speculation about the projected product: It’s a new phone! It’s just software! It’s both! Indeed, the latest rumors suggest that it is both a new device, along with a fresh new take on software that looks to be putting a huge focus on the services offered by the social networking platform.

For example, in the latest batch of leaked screenshots, we see that what looks to be a folder of some kind holding all the important Facebook apps you’d need to get through your day-to-day Face . . . booking. Or whatever the kids call it these days. Apps like Messenger, Instagram, and obviously the Facebook app itself – which may seem like overkill, but oh well.

In another screenshot within the same story, we see what looks to be the new home screen for this particular Facebook phone. At the bottom, where we’d normally find the launcher for an application drawer, along with a dock for other app icons, there’s a small circular image of what I would imagine to be the phone’s owner. Above that, a list of notifications, from the phone, to Instagram, and what looks to be a message. Will that be a standard text message notification? Or will it be tied to Facebook’s Messenger? Both, maybe?

We’ll find out tomorrow.

There was a moment or two, and the feeling is still out there lingering amongst a few experts, that Facebook wasn’t going to unveil a phone at all. No hardware, I mean. Instead, they would be focusing entirely on a new app, which would be able to take more control over your device than ever before. Essentially, a new launcher, which Android is no stranger to. But, as we’ve seen just as often as Facebook Home, the HTC-branded “Myst” or “First” keeps popping up, too.

What’s the Myst, or what’s being called the First? Well, it looks to be a mid-range device that should probably get about one or two people out there excited for the handset. Rumors suggest it will feature a 4.3-inch 720p display, with a 1GHz dual-core processor tucked away inside. There’s reportedly a 5 megapixel camera on the back, and a 1.2MP shooter on the other side. It will be running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and HTC’s Sense 4.5 will be providing you with just enough proprietary software to call it good.

So, we’ve got a midrange device apparently coming down the pipe as well, along with a brand new Facebook-inspired launcher. Could I tell you why Facebook wanted to show off their brand new software on a device running mediocre specifications? No, no I couldn’t. I’ve seen plenty of speculation that Facebook will be aiming to launch the First in international markets, and there could even be a market for the device on pre-paid networks. That could make sense.

But, what would make more sense, to me, is if Facebook just stuck to software. You’re going to launch a new Android launcher? Great, show it off on an HTC One, then, since HTC looks to be helping you out in general. Wouldn’t it be more exciting to show off your brand-spanking new software on a device that people are actually clamoring for?

Or, does Facebook seriously plan on restricting access to this new launcher? Are they seriously not going to release it to the public, for all Android devices running a particular version and beyond? Is this new launcher only going to be available on the First? If so, I can’t help but wonder why a huge event would be necessary. Just announce it, release it, and keep working on making the software better. On all platforms.

Do you think Facebook plans on launching the First, their first real “Facebook phone” to only specific markets, or do you believe they’ll try to get launch deals with the major carriers here in the United States, too? Would you prefer to see Facebook just focus on making their current apps better, instead of delegating resources on a new launcher? Will you even consider buying the First? Let me know.

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