USA TODAY - Facebook's next mission: taking over your smartphone screen.
The social network unveiled Facebook Home, an operating system that deeply integrates features of the service, at an event at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.
"Our phones are designed around apps and not people," says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "We want to flip that around."
Home features an interface focused on the user's circle of Facebook friends, allowing them to swipe between pictures, status updates and other important events. It also integrates messaging into a new feature called Chat Heads, icons with profile pictures that pop up when receiving text or Facebook messages.
Smartphone maker HTC and wireless carrier AT&T also appeared to unveil the HTC First, a smartphone with Facebook Home pre-loaded and optimized for users. The phone launches April 12 for $99.99.
Facebook Home will also be available April 12 on Android devices such as the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy SIII and S4.
Scroll down for full details from the event.
1:47 p.m.: Zuckerberg wraps up. First take: it's a very intriguing device if you are an avid Facebook user. It appears easy to navigate and very simple to stay connected with friends. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
1:44 p.m.: Zuckerberg says Facebook Home will be available for download on April 12. He says he hopes this helps change the way we use computing devices. "By putting people first, and then apps, it's one of many small but meaningful changes in our relationship with technology over time."
1:42 p.m.: De la Vega says HTC First will run on AT&T's 4G LTE network. It will launch April 12 for $99.99.
1:40 p.m.: Ralph de la Vega on stage next. "Apps aren't at the center, but people are at the center," he says. "And we bought into that."
1:40 p.m.: Chou says the HTC First will have Facebook Home pre-loaded and optimized. It will be available in four colors, including black, white, light blue and orange.
1:38 p.m.: Chou reveals the HTC First, which will appear on AT&T's network. "It's a great opportunity to bring mobile and social together even more closely."
1:37 p.m.: Zuckerberg unveils Facebook Home Program for smartphone and wireless companies, including Sony, Qualcomm, AT&T and HTC. Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, and AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega up next to reveal a device with Facebook Home included.
1:35 p.m.: Watching a video offering a closer look at Home. It's definitely geared toward people who use Facebook a lot. Zuckerberg says HTC One, One X, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note II among devices that will support Home.
1:33 p.m.: Zuckerberg is back on stage. "We think this is the best version of Facebook there is," he says of Facebook Home. Time for a video montage.
1:32 p.m.: "With Home, it's not just mobile first, but mobile best," says Ondrejka. He adds the goal was to create the best Facebook experience on Android. "It feels physical and real."
1:31 p.m.: Ondrejka says unlike most operating system updates that take longer, updates for Home will happen on a monthly basis.
1:30 p.m.: Corey Ondrejka, Facebook vice president, breaks down how to get the interface. From the Google Play store, users can simply downloads. Users can opt to launch Facebook Home just once to check it out or always to make it the default. The latest versions of Facebook and Facebook Messenger are required, Ondrejka says Home will appear on tablets in the next several months.
1:27 p.m.: "It feels like your friends are always there. It's always accessible," Flynn says of the Chat Heads. Extra messages will appear along the top of the phone. Text messages will appear with a green background to tell them apart from Facebook messages.
1:25 p.m.: Flynn talking more about Chat Heads, which he says are always available anywhere on a phone. When users get a message, a Chat Head with a friend's profile picture pops up in the top right corner. When clicking on the Chat Head, the messaging interface appears. The icons will appear regardless of which app an user has open.
1:23 p.m.: Facebook Home devices will use an App Launcher to view the selection of apps on the phone. Users can also easily post a status update or photo through a menu across the top of the screen. Product director Joey Flynn is up next to discuss messenging.
1:22 p.m.: Notifications will pop up right on the home screen, tapping on each to view the update. Users can also swipe to the right to ignore. They can also press and hold to grab all Notifications and delete them. Mosseri says goal is to move away from tasks and apps and focus on "people and content."
1:20 p.m.: The mobile news feed that users see when they first turn on the phone is called Cover Feed. Again, it's a combination of images, link sharing and status updates. Basically, the same stuff on News Feed. For text-heavy status updates, users will see their friend's Cover Photo in the background. Users simply tap the Like or Comment button to interact, or swipe down to move away.
1:18 p.m.: Zuckerberg says Chat Heads will work with Facebook messenging and traditional SMS text messages. Adam Mosseri, Facebook's Product Director, takes the stage for a detailed demo.
1:17 p.m.: "In today's app centric world, messaging is treated like just another app," Zuckerberg says. "We think it should be better." When someone views a friend they want to chat with, they can tap on their face and quickly send a message. They're called Chat Heads.
1:15 p.m.: Zuckerberg continues his tour through Home. He says it's designed to be just as easy to find apps as any other phone. From the Home screen, users tap their avatar near the bottom, then click Apps to view the phone's different applications.
1:13 p.m.: When users install Facebook Home, they'll see a series of updates users can view. It's similar to the News Feed, only built into the phone's interface. If they see something they like, they can double tap the screen.
1:12 p.m.: Zuckerberg praises Google for Android's openness, noting developers can do this on Android devices that can't be done on other phones. Zuckerberg calls it Facebook Home.
1:11 p.m.: "We're not building a phone. We're not building an operating system, but we're building something a lot deeper," Zuckerberg says.
1:10 p.m.: "We want to bring this experience to your phone," Zuckerberg says, pointing to the people-focused interface. He also notes bringing this experience to several devices, not just one. "We want to build this experience for every person, on every phone."
1:08 p.m.: Zuckerberg talking about the mobile phone's user interface, and how it has changed very little in recent years. "Our phones are designed around apps and not people," he says. "So we want to flip that around."
1:07 p.m.: Citing data from comScore, Zuckerberg says mobile users spend about 20% of their time on Facebook, well ahead of apps such as Pandora and Instagram.
Zuckerberg talks about designing phones around people and not apps. Shows phone icons that display several friends' avatars.
1:05 p.m.: And here we go. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "We are finally going to talk about that Facebook phone," he says. "You're going to be able to transform your Android phone into a more social phone."
Update at 1:02 p.m. ET: We're moments away from Facebook kicking off its event. Looks like they may be running a bit behind.
Facebook is hosting a mobile event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where it is expected they will reveal details about a new smartphone deeply integrating key features of the social network.
The event described as "come see our new home on Android" kicks off at 1 p.m. ET. USA TODAY will update live as Facebook shares details of their announcement.
The latest event buzz comes from Bloomberg, reporting that the company plans to unveil a modified Android operating system with a focus on Facebook. The hardware itself will possibly be manufactured by HTC, who worked with Facebook on the HTC Status smartphone.
The announcement comes as Facebook is experiencing a boom in its mobile ad revenue. According to a report from research firm eMarketer, the company will hit nearly $1 billion a year in ad revenue.