The first update to Facebook Home, which arrived on the HTC First and for select group of Android phones less than a week ago, will arrive by the second week in May, according to Facebook CTO and VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer and Director of Mobile Engineering Cory Ondrejka who spoke at the AllThingsD Dive into Mobile Conference in New York City.
Ondrejka and Schroepfer wouldn’t offer specifics on the next version of Facebook Home, which replaces the Android launcher with a Facebook lock screen, Cover Feed and selection ofFacebook-centric features. They did say that Camera and the Phone Dialer are both interesting. These are two areas that use Android’s intent system, something which Android developers can access.
Facebook is also eyeing mobile advertising for Home and its mobile apps. They’re particularly interested in video. Schroepfer noted that Facebook has quickly taken the mobile advertising business from a “zero dollar business” to fast growth.
“A lot of our focus has been on news feed as a surface for ads, on mobile we’re particularly well-positioned,” he said. “It’s natural to weave something slightly more interesting than the ads you’re getting into the content you’re getting.
“We’re looking at all different formats for ads, video is a very interesting way to build an emotional reaction.”
The Tablet Experience and iOS Realties
Facebook is also working on Facebook Home for Android tablets, but it’s not quite ready. “We tested Facebook Home on tablets,” said Schroepfer. “It’s a great experience. We think we may have to make some adjustments to make it work on tablets.”
The Facebook team also offered a bit of insight into why chat heads is so limited on iOS (those pop-up messages do not appear outside the Facebook Mobile App). They called Apple “a great partner,” but when you want to do something like a persistent message interface on Android, “you just go in and do it.”
With iOS, they explained you’d have to wait for an operating system upgrade cycle.
When AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher asked if they had even asked Apple to make this possible on iOS, Schroepfer and Ondrejka danced around the question — but indicated that they didn’t want to waste time asking for something they wouldn’t get.
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