While it’s likely never wise to try to summarize an event immediately after it’s finished, a couple of thoughts on Facebook Home:
- Disappointment – Home is for me a prime example of how mobile innovation is slowing down and becoming entrenched in the increasingly stifling smartphone norm. Android and iOS have taken such a firm grasp on user access and behavior that even Facebook don’t fancy their chances of going it alone. However, from a shareholder value perspective, it’s incumbent upon them to increase their perceived reach into mobile with the fewest barriers to entry.
- Apps Rule – perhaps this could have been the defining moment for the app-hating crew of HTML5 extremists, but that moment is still to come. Facebook have neatly settled the argument by bedding their solution in the 3 primary benefits of apps: distribution through the well-understood and now-habitual use of app stores, enhanced UI capabilities, and hardware/software interoperability. Try delivering THAT over mobile web.
- Android openness – The openness of Android is hugely underexploited in any number of verticals. Even carriers rarely try to produce a really custom experience that could be baking in loyalty, content and more at various levels, so it makes sense for Facebook to do this best. It does rather tie them to Android for the long term, but I don’t consider that a disadvantage given Android’s rosy future and market share.
- Facebook’s Android App – Any Android user will tell you about how bad the app is so to have that refreshed is a telling side benefit which wasn’t called out for obvious reasons. But Facebook must have been aware that their users on the OS have felt like poor relations for a long time now
Roll on April 12th!