Yesterday Facebook revealed that Facebook Home, its Android ‘launcher’ aimed at making Facebook the center of smartphones, had passed 1 million downloads, and now the software has expanded its support to include the Samsung Galaxy S4 and other devices, in an unofficial capacity.
Home was initially only available to owners of a select few devices — including the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+ — when it launched four weeks ago. But now, Android Central notes – via The Verge — that the range has been quietly extended to include new phones, most notably the new Samsung flagship.
Details of new support have not made their way to the Facebook Home app. Instead Android Central noticed the Facebook app on the Galaxy S4 was updated to include a ‘Use Home Anyway’ notice, which, when tapped, proceeded to load the Android launcher. There is no such notification for the HTC One, which is now able to run the software despite no update to the Facebook Home changelog.
The Galaxy S4 and HTC One were announced as original launch partners, but, up until now, had not been supported.
The change is likely to have been set to go live — perhaps at midnight West Coast time — so it seems likely that we can expect an official announcement from the social network very soon.
For now, this shortcut will be of interest to those wanting to take the software for a spin, but hoards of new sign-ups aren’t likely until official support arrives and Facebook (and partners) begin making noise about the update.
Widening support for Facebook Home is going to be key if Facebook is going to get genuine mileage from the software. Though it says it is happy with the progress, a million downloads represents a small fraction of its 1 billion plus user base. That’s not to mention that the number of active users is likely some way lower than the 1 million installs.
Facebook said yesterday that Home will get new updates every four weeks, and adding support for new devices is likely to be a big part of that.
The fragmentation of the Android platforms and differences between devices, makes developing software for all phones on the platform a more tricky process than for iOS, Windows Phone and others.
Headline image via Greg Wood / Getty