SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- "It's finally time to talk about that Facebook (FB - Get Report) phone," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday in jest as he opened up the presentation on Facebook Home. While the comment was a joke, Facebook Home is anything but. In fact, it may be the company's Trojan Horse.
Facebook's announcement of Facebook Home, built on top of Google (GOOG) Android, was very impressive, and something that I think makes Facebook more relevant now than it was yesterday.
In recent months, Facebook has talked about other services that are eating away at Facebook usage, including Facebook-owned Instagram. People are moving away from Facebook to other social networks, including Instagram. In its most recent 10-K, Facebook noted that users, particularly younger ones, were moving away from Facebook.
"We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook. For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram," Facebook wrote.By making Facebook Home, the company has effectively solved this problem. It has put the social network right in front of hundreds of millions of Android users, as the company seeks to boost engagement. In talking with developers on the project, I found out engagement went up drastically, when compared to using just the mobile apps. While they didn't provide any hard data, it's clear that by looking at the beautiful user interface and seeing how easy it is to use, Facebook is hell-bent on making itself relevant at all times of the day; Facebook is no longer just for checking up once or twice a day. Facebook's move may come at the expense of Google. Starting April 12, the new app will be available in Google Play. Facebook Home is available initially on the HTC First via AT&T (T), but more devices are coming. It will also be available on Samsung's Galaxy S III, Samsung GALAXY Note II, HTC One X, HTC One X+. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 will receive it when it's launched.