Facebook is set to debut a special Android product tomorrow, and now 9to5Google has an early look at what we might see, courtesy of Evleaks. The screens depicted on renders of the so-called HTC First smartphone hardware being created by the Taiwanese company. The images show tweaks to the basic Android UI that include easy access to status updates, photo sharing and check-in functions, as well as an emphasis on images.
The screens look to take a mostly minimalist approach to re-skinning the Android OS, with a widget similar to the one available for Android home screens occupying a spot near the top of the app tray. A notifications screen uses what looks like it might be a Facebook cover photo as its backdrop, and seems to display a user’s FB profile pic as the unlock mechanism. There are Instagram, Messenger and Facebook sharing options shown in the built-in gallery app, and Evleaks says the whole point is to put Facebook functions close at hand wherever possible in the OS itself, making it less necessary to jump into the dedicated app to share or engage with content posted to the social network.
The description and screens from this latest leak match up with what Josh reported was on the way from Facebook for this event last week. Overall, it looks like what FB is doing is making a product that can make Android a better funnel for prompting mobile users to post content and updates to its network, and to better keep up to date with new activity from their friends. If Facebook can successfully demonstrate that it can actually improve the Android experience with deeper hooks, its Home product could become attractive to other OEMs as well. And even though it has built an impressive user base on its own, shipping on a range of Android hardware around the world as an element virtually baked into the OS goes well beyond traditional user acquisition methods.
We’ll have live coverage of the event tomorrow as it happens, beginning at 10 AM PT, so you can tune in to find out whether what Facebook really is presenting matches these early leaks as it happens.