Facebook wants 'Home' interface on Apple devices

18/04/2013

Facebook is in talks with Apple to offer its ‘Home’ interface on iPads and iPhones, less than a week after launching on the Android platform.

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The news comes as this week’s update to the Facebook app for iOS devices included the launch of the Home feature "Chat Heads."

Speaking at the All Things D's "Dive Into Mobile" conference, company's CTO and VP of Engineering Mike Schropfer told the crowd that Facebook is in talks with Apple.

However, it's unclear how and whether Facebook be able to offer the full Home experience for Apple.

Facebook Home converts Android handsets into “Facebook phones”, with a Facebook home screen and prominent roles for Facebook’s communication features such as instant messaging and free voice calls.

The software is designed to keep Facebook members engaged on the move for longer as they increasingly access their accounts from smartphones and tablets, and attract more mobile advertising.

Open source opportunity

Due to Android’s open source structure, Facebook did not need Google’s approval or cooperation to build Facebook Home.

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday it would be "counter to our public statements, our religion" to restrict the software, even though it effectively takes over Android devices for Facebook's benefit. Apple’s iOS is much more restricted, however.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s director of product, has claimed Apple is discussing allowing Facebook Home or something like it on iOS. The talks are in progress and nothing has been finalized, he said.

“We’ve shown them what we’ve built and we’re just in an ongoing conversation,” Mosseri said, referring to discussions with Apple.

On iPhone devices, the Home software would be tailored to what Apple prefers, Mosseri said. It could look much different than the Android version.

“It may or may not be Home,” he said. “We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it’s not called Home, it’s called something else.”

Apple has declined to comment.

Chat Heads iOS app- Apple compromise?

The Chat Heads app on iOS lets users have a conversation with friends even when they're doing other things on Facebook, like checking a news feed or looking at photos.

However, unlike the Android version, "Chat Heads" on iOS can't follow users outside the Facebook ecosystem.

There is also another new feature—Facebook users can now paste "stickers" in their private messages with friends.

View the Facebook iOS update here

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