Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage during a press conference on Thursday and unveiled the next stage in Facebook’s mobile evolution: Home. Zuckerberg confirmed — for what seems like the billionth time — that Facebook smartly has no plans to build its own smartphone or its own operating system. Those strategies are too limiting. Instead, Facebook will take advantage of Android’s open nature and offer a software suite that takes over the Android lock screen and home screen, replacing them with various content pulled from users’ Facebook feeds. While many believe Home could represent the future of social networking on mobile phones, others think Facebook’s new Android software is too invasive — and maybe even a bit scary.
“What Facebook sees as Home others might see as Jail — too much control and too many boundaries,” J. Gold Associates analyst Jack Gold wrote in a research note picked up by Investor’s Business Daily.
But investors were clearly impressed with the prospects presented by Facebook’s new Home software. Facebook shares closed up 3.13% at $27.07 on Thursday following the company’s press conference, and they continued to rise another half a point during Friday’s pre-market session. While Facebook will not include any advertising in early versions of its Home software, the company did confirm on Thursday that ads will eventually make their way into Facebook’s Home streams, opening up a potentially huge monetization opportunity.
Facebook Home will become available on several smartphone models beginning April 12th and the HTC First, the first smartphone that will ship with Home preloaded, will launch on the same day.