MENLO PARK — With its new "Home" on Android gadgets, Facebook aims to put its social network at the center of people's mobile experiences.
If users choose to download Facebook's Home software starting on April 12, the social network will become the hub of their Android smartphones. A phone from HTC that comes pre-loaded with Home will also be available starting that day, with AT&T Inc. as the carrier.
The idea behind the software is to bring Facebook content right to the home screen, rather than requiring users to check apps. "Home" comes amid rapid growth in the number of people who access Facebook from phones and tablet computers. Of its 1.06 billion monthly users, 680 million log in to Facebook using a mobile gadget.
The service is part of Facebook's move to shift its users' focus from "apps and tasks" to people, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg during Home's unveiling at the company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Thursday.
The new product, which resides on the home screen of Android phones, is a family of apps designed to help people share things with their Facebook friends. Rather than seeing a set of apps for email, maps and other services when they first turn on their phones, users will be greeted with photos and updates from their Facebook feeds. There will be ads too, eventually.