What's the Latest Development?
The recently announced Facebook Home, an "app-plus" for Android phones that pushes social media content to the homescreen, is receiving mixed reactions prior to its scheduled launch later this week. However, signs are that the users that might be most receptive to a "Facebook-centric phone experience" are those who have yet to buy their first smartphone and are only just now discovering what the technology is about. According to analytics firm Yankee Group, the number of new smartphone owners is expected to double in the next four years, and most of those will live in the developing world, where low-cost Android phones -- and Facebook use -- are beginning to surge.
What's the Big Idea?
Currently, carriers in 45 countries offer to their customers a stripped-down text version of Facebook known as Facebook Zero. According to Nathan Eagle, CEO of a company that conducts mobile phone surveys in developing countries, Facebook Home "may be the next logical step...for engaging with consumers." In Indonesia, for example, four out of five Internet users are on Facebook, but few of them own smartphones. As that changes, "their predilection for Facebook might mean Facebook Home comes across as natural."
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