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Facebook Reported Talking with Apple for Home on iPhone
Facebook Reported Talking with Apple for Home on iPhone

By Jennifer LeClaire
April 16, 2013 1:49PM

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"Where Facebook Home would be incredibly useful -- because it's wonderfully streamlined and its quite responsive -- is on a low-end prepaid Android phone, which has a terrible user interface," said analyst Avi Greengart. "A great [Facebook] experience on a cheap phone that today offers a terrible experience would fill a bigger need in the market overall."
 



The jury is still out on Facebook Home, but rumors are already tying the social networking giant to Apple. Bloomberg is reporting that Facebook is in talks with Apple about developing a version of Home for the iPhone.

Facebook Home, which puts your friends' latest updates on your home screen and delivers messages that reach you no matter what you're doing, is currently only available for the Android operating system. And even then, only currently for the HTC First, One X and One X+, the Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II. Would Apple benefit?

"The phones that Facebook is working with out of the gate are fairly high-end," said Avi Greengart, a principal analyst at Current Analysis. "Many people who are buying those phones are buying them for the features the vendor offers. I don't know necessarily that the super simplified Facebook Home user interface is really why they bought their phone."

Targeting Low-End Phones

The same premise would hold true for the iPhone. Nevertheless, Adam Mosseri, director of product for Facebook, told Bloomberg, "We've shown [Apple] what we've built and we're just in an ongoing conversation."

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bloomberg also reported Facebook was in talks with Microsoft about a Windows Phone-based version of Home, but Microsoft could not be reached for comment. Talks or no talks, Greengart is not sure Facebook Home makes as much sense for the high-end devices as it does for low-end devices.

"Where Facebook Home would be incredibly useful -- because it's wonderfully streamlined and its quite responsive -- is on a low-end prepaid Android phone, which has a terrible user interface," he said. "That may be a way of improving the phone rather than providing a completely different user experience. A great experience on a cheap phone that today offers a terrible experience would fill a bigger need in the market overall."

Can Facebook Convince Us?

Here's what you can expect with Facebook Home if you do have a compatible device: Cover Feed, a constant stream of photos and updates from your News Feed, is always present when you wake up your phone.

You can swipe through to see more photos and updates, double tap to "like" a post and comment right from Cover Feed. Other features include Notifications, Chat Heads that let you jump in and out of conversations while you do other things on the device, and app launching that lets you see your favorite apps and post to Facebook from the same place.

Apple and Microsoft may be waiting to see how well Facebook Home performs before concluding talks. If Facebook Home is an overwhelming hit, it could find its way onto other platforms.

"I'm not going to write off Facebook home just yet, but I do think Facebook Home has some convincing to do," Greengart told us. "Facebook needs to explain and sell it in a way that's attractive. The design itself is quite attractive."
 

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