Facebook has unveiled a bespoke Android overlay called Home and revealed HTC will debut a phone called First running the overlay as standard, as the firm looks to further grow its mobile offerings.
Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the interfrace at an event in the US, explaining the firm was looking to improve the way people use their smartphones by putting "people, not apps" at the centre of the phone.
"We're not building a phone and we're not building an operating system. What we're building is something that goes much deeper than just an ordinary app," he said.
As such, Zuckerberg said the Home app (shown left) is designed to put people at the centre of the phone experience, showing off capabilities such as a slideshow of recent images on your front screen or putting updates from friends at the top of the screen.
"The home screen is the soul of your phone. You check it 100 times a day, so we want to build the best experience for every person on their Android phone."
Another key tool built into the platform is the ability to receive messages - called Chat Heads - without having to exit the app you're currently using while still being able to reply to the messages you're getting, as either texts or Facebook messages.
This will work across platforms, so iOS and Windows Phone messages will appear in the similar manner.
The app will be made available to download on 12 April in the US with other regions to follow.
Other devices to run the platform will be the HTC One, HTC One X, the HTC One X+, the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S4.
HTC chief executive Peter Chou joined Zuckerberg on stage to show off the firm's new First smartphone which will be the first device to come with the Home overlay built in as standard.
The device will be available from 12 April in the US on AT&T for $99.99.
No word was given on a UK release date. However, the firm confirmed it was working with EE, Samsung and a host of other vendors on delivering the overlay when it is made available.
Ovum analyst Nick Dillon told V3 the Home announcemnet underlined the firm's desire to get its users more active on the site in order to help boost the appeal to advertisers.
"Facebook wants to create a deeper experience and get more people spending time using the site than they currently do," he said.
"Home is a more immersive experience than the normal Android Facebook app as it's bringing it right to the ‘top' of the home screen."
Dillon added it was too soon to tell if it would prove popular but said HTC would be hoping the First device sold well, especially as its last Facebook tie-up with the Cha Cha and Salsa phones proved a flop.
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